One of the most important parts of being the head of your family is leaving a legacy. For many families, however, legacy planning comes with two topics many prefer to avoid discussing: money and their own mortality. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure your estate is divided effectively and with a lasting impact for the people and causes you care about. For insight on the best practices for effectively passing down a family legacy, Barron’s spoke with Andy Hart, chief executive officer of Delegate Advisors, for insight.
One way to pass down your legacy is by deciding which heirs will receive tangible items, such as jewelry or vacation homes, that hold special meanings. According to Hart, during this step, communication is key. It is important to begin conversations around these assets by discussing what the items mean to the family or how it represents the family’s values. This should be the time you express your wishes for whom you believe should receive them and your family members can mention what they cherish.
Another way to create a legacy is by donating to museums, institutions and nonprofit groups whose missions you support. If these donations are extremely valuable or have intangible significance, Hart tells Barron’s that donors can “spell out conditions about the gift, such as when it may be displayed and how, and whether it can be sold.” Meanwhile, for financial donations, Hart recommends planning early so you can move the assets out of your estate and into a tax shelter that can grow over time.