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Estate planning as part of a legacy

Some people in Ohio may have heard the phrase "legacy planning" used interchangeably with "estate planning" or wondered what the difference in the two is. They might be uncomfortable with the term "legacy planning" because it seems to imply something grander than estate planning that involves the ego, significant wealth or a controlling approach.

However, the fact is that every person leaves a kind of legacy behind, and thinking of estate planning as creating something might help a person with some aspects of decision-making. People might think of either estate or legacy planning as leaving a part of themselves behind in the world and giving something to heirs to help them along as well.

This kind of planning is not necessarily tied to income. A person can leave behind a legacy or estate plan to help loved ones without being wealthy. Ideally, this legacy plan can involve a person's work or values being carried on after that person has died.

One type of legacy planning might be tied to charitable work. There are several ways to contribute to charity ranging from planned giving to setting up a trust to simply specifying a small amount in a will to go to charity. A person might also use a trust in legacy planning. With a trust, the person can schedule disbursements. For example, a beneficiary might only receive funds after a milestone, such as finishing college or reaching a certain age. With a trust, a trustee could also be appointed to decide when beneficiaries get disbursements. Trusts may also allow an estate to bypass probate. A person who is creating an estate plan might want to talk to an attorney about goals for the estate and what tools might be available to achieve those goals.

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