A new study by the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy found that the greatest wealth transfer in history is currently underway, with more than $59 trillion passing to heirs, charities and Uncle Sam between now and 2061.
The majority of this wealth — $36 trillion — is passing directly to heirs and another sizeable chunk — $27 trillion – is passing to charity, either through final bequest or total lifetime gifts.
And even though the study notes that the transfer of $59 trillion is the largest in history, it goes on to estimate the final figure will likely be even higher – much higher.
So what is your plan for either transferring or receiving inherited wealth?
If you don’t have one – and far too many people don’t – I encourage you to start planning now, since in my view your estate plan is more of a process than a static document. In fact, my relationship with clients continues long after the estate planning documents have been signed.
As your life changes and your family grows, legacy planning will play an important role in how you choose to transfer wealth to future generations. The law firm you choose to work with on your legacy planning should keep all your estate planning documents accessible to you in an electronic file, and schedule timely reviews so they can furnish you with three very important services:
1. Ensuring all your assets are owned correctly so your family isn’t stuck dealing with an expensive, unnecessary, and public Probate Court process. Establishing a Trust once and then never looking at it again isn’t the answer — regular updating and assurances that all your assets are documented and owned properly, is the right way to do things.
2. Making sure the guardians you have named for your minor children, the trustees you have chosen to carry out the terms of your trust, and the agents you have designated to make health care decisions for you in case you cannot make them yourself are still the people you want in charge.
3. Helping you record your values, experiences, family history and the other important intangibles you want to pass on to future generations so they are never lost. A comprehensive estate plans should cover far more than just your money, focusing on what matters most — your values, insights, stories and experiences. The things most often lost when someone dies.
Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and have a Family Estate Planning Session, so we can help you look at what would happen now if something were to happen to you and ensure everything passes to your loved ones exactly the way you want.