Legacy planning involves much more than assigning beneficiaries for money and other assets after death. Although legacy planning is often used interchangeably with estate planning, the two are different. Estate planning is something New Jersey residents do when they want to ease tax burdens and allocate assets. Legacy planning is done to continue a life's work after the estate holder has died.
Estate planning starts with assets that a person already owns. An attorney might help a client transfer the assets or put them into trusts to avoid probate and excessive taxes after death. Legacy planning is quite different. It starts with determining what a person wants to be known for and working on a plan to continue that work after they're gone. Although physical assets might be involved, they aren't a necessary element of a legacy plan.
Everyone has the option to focus on living a happy and fulfilled existence. Someone who wants to make a difference in the world may not want the work they do during their lifetime to end simply because they are no longer alive to carry it out. With a legacy plan, they can strategically build what they want to leave behind and determine who will continue their life's work.
As part of the estate planning process, creating an effective legacy plan preserves the important things a person worked on during their lifetime. This could include a business or charitable work. An attorney could help a client develop and execute a plan to help their dreams live on.