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Turning assets into a legacy

Some Ohio residents who are creating an estate plan might just think of it in terms of leaving assets for family members. However, estate planning can be approached as legacy planning, and the ideas that underpin this are old ones. One 15th century play involves a character who learns he can only take knowledge and good deeds with him after death. These are essentially what a person leaves behind for family and friends.

Essentially, knowledge and good deeds are what a person believes and has accomplished. Preserving this legacy means putting it in some kind of form that can be passed down to loved ones. This might be a body of artistic work, or it might be a company or a trust.

Before deciding how to pass this legacy down to relatives, a person should think about why it is being passed down and why it exists in the first place. This can help the person ensure that the right vehicle is chosen to carry on the legacy.

For example, a person might want to pass down a body of artistic work that conveys something of importance and supports the recipient's family. Alternately, a person may want to set up a tradition of charitable giving. There are several ways to do this, but with a charitable trust, a person may be able to support a nonprofit while also providing some income for family members. Another reason for a legacy could be establishing and maintaining family wealth. Wealth often does not last past a few generations, so a person might specifically approach an estate plan with this object in mind.

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