Especially if you are early in retirement, this can be difficult to think about. It’s much easier to focus on living and enjoying life now! But the longer you wait, the more it will keep nagging you.
Here are some ideas for how you might handle this, so you can get this difficult topic out of the way, move on with your life and know it is taken care of.
1- If you already have ideas of how you want to direct your gift, use a journal to write out a legacy plan. There are a few ways you can do this so it doesn’t feel so daunting:
- Pretend you are writing a screenplay about the lives of those to whom you want to leave an inheritance. What do you want to see happening with the wealth you leave for them?
- Pretend that you’re an angel watching from afar, seeing the impact of the gift you left. Who is it helping? What guidance would you want to give?
- Once you go through a visualization exercise, you can write a letter to those you love, telling them what you want them to know about why you left them an inheritance.
2- If you aren’t clear yet about where you want to leave your wealth, start thinking through these statements. How do they feel to you?
- I love my children/grandchildren and I just want to leave them a large legacy to support their futures.
- I am concerned that if I give too much wealth to my heirs, it might not have the desired outcome.
- I worked hard for my inheritance– I want to enjoy as much of it as possible and leave very little behind.
- I would like to strike a balance, giving myself the freedom to spend freely in retirement but I also plan to leave some behind.
- I would like to leave a legacy through charity.
Now that you have done all this thinking, what do you do with it? Use our planning process to model what you would like to have happen. Meet with an Estate Planning attorney to create or update your Trust to reflect your current wishes. Remember, as long as you are alive, you can always change the Trust.
Once this is done, you can move on and enjoy retirement without all the nagging questions.
Enjoy the process!