You have spent a lifetime supporting your children. They have benefited directly from your employment, income and financial decisions. Now you may want to share some of your success with their progeny.
Your children may have always been the main beneficiaries of your estate plan, and you intended to pass everything on to them when you died. However, after becoming a grandparent, your feelings about your legacy have changed. Now, you want to leave something for your grandchildren and even future generations.
How can you leave a legacy that persists beyond your children?
Add each family member to your will independently
One of the simplest ways to leave a multi-generational legacy is to include your children, your grandchildren and the other loved ones by name in your will. Allocating each of them a specific portion of your estate or particular assets will ensure that your grandchildren receive something in addition to your children.
However, there are limitations to this approach, not the least of which is that family members could squander the inheritance you planned for them. If you fail to make timely updates when family situations change, your plan could be undermined.
Create a trust
If you want to skip a generation or limit what your loved ones use their inheritances for, a trust might be the best solution. A testator creates the framework of a trust and therefore decides what people can use the assets in the trust for, how much they can access at once and other important details.
Whether you want to skip a generation and have the trust only benefit your grandchildren or name multiple generations of your family as beneficiaries, trusts can be a great way to have long-term control over the property you leave behind when you die.
You can even leave instructions for what happens to any remaining assets when all of your chosen beneficiaries have died themselves. Rather than giving someone full control over those assets, they can benefit from them while the ultimate disposition of that property depends on your wishes.
Careful financial planning is also a part of creating a legacy that lasts for more than a generation. Testators need to think about debts, future medical expenses and the risk of estate taxes to maximize what they leave behind and how long it will benefit their family. Identifying goals for your legacy can help you create an effective and long-lasting estate plan.