When the topic of legacy planning comes up, most people immediately think of material assets – homes, bank accounts, and valuable possessions. However, a truly meaningful legacy encompasses much more than just the tangible.
Intangible assets like your values, wisdom, and digital assets also play a pivotal role. Here’s why you should pay attention to these often-overlooked facets when planning your estate.
The Importance of Family Ethics and Wisdom
Family values, ethics, and wisdom are the foundational blocks that help shape generations. Documenting these aspects – perhaps in the form of an ethical will – can help ensure that your moral compass, life lessons, and family traditions live on.
Written or video messages can be a valuable guide for younger family members and can even become a cherished keepsake for your loved ones.
Creative Works and Intellectual Property
Artists, authors, or inventors need to think beyond the canvas, the page, or the lab. Your intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks, are assets with potentially high value.
Explicitly mention these in your legacy plan and designate an heir to manage and benefit from these creative endeavors. An estate planning attorney can help make the legal transfers smooth and trouble-free.
Managing Your Digital Footprint
In our digital age, your online presence – from social media accounts to digital photographs – is an extension of your identity. Make sure you allocate these digital assets carefully. Utilize digital estate planning tools to give someone you trust the authority to handle your online accounts and digital property according to your wishes.
The Value of Professional Goodwill
If you’ve spent years building a professional reputation or personal brand, that “goodwill” is an intangible asset that shouldn’t be overlooked. While challenging to put a monetary value on, this goodwill can be a vital aspect of your legacy, especially for heirs who plan to carry on a family business. Consult your estate planning attorney to identify the best methods to pass this on.
Sharing Financial Wisdom
Knowledge about investments, business strategies, or even simple budgeting tips can be a priceless asset for your heirs. Document your financial acumen and strategies to create a guide that your family can refer to for years to come. Incorporating this guide into an educational trust for younger family members can also be a smart move.
Practical Steps for Incorporating Intangible Assets
- List Your Intangibles: Catalog all intangible assets, whether they are family traditions, digital collections, or business contacts.
- Documentation: Create written or digital records outlining the importance and desired management of these assets.
- Seek Legal Advice: Work with an estate planning attorney to effectively incorporate intangible assets into your legal planning documents.
- Choose Custodians: Appoint trustworthy individuals who can manage these assets and understand the importance you place on them.
- Review and Update: Like any other part of your estate plan, make sure to review these elements periodically to ensure they remain relevant.
Your legacy is an intricate blend of both tangible and intangible assets. While it’s easy to focus on the material, remember that your values, intellectual properties, and digital life also contribute significantly to what you leave behind.
By giving them the attention they deserve in your estate plan, you’ll create a more rounded, impactful legacy for generations to come.
Schedule Consultation Today!
Today is the day for action if you are currently unprepared from a legacy planning perspective. You can schedule a consultation at our Phoenix, AZ estate planning office by calling us at 888-222-1328, and you can use our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.
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