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Legacies and estate planning

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2017 | Firm News, Trusts |

People in Ohio who are creating an estate plan might think in terms of making a will and setting up a trust. However, there is another way to conceptualize the process.

A 15th-century morality play called “Everyman” tells the story of a man facing his own death. In the end, all he can take with him are knowledge and good deeds. Even in modern times, people can learn a lesson from this old play. Estate planning can mean passing on a legacy, and that legacy consists of knowledge and good deeds. These include a person’s values as well as specific accomplishments.

It may seem as though these intangible things cannot be passed on in an estate plan. However, a legacy can be realized in material ways through a company or a body of artistic work. A trust can be another way to pass on knowledge and good deeds to loved ones. People should think about the question of “why” in relation to a legacy plan and what they would like to pass on.

For example, a person might value education a great deal. Therefore, a trust might be set up to help fund the education of loved ones. It might also be designed to allow distributions when the loved one reaches certain educational milestones. Another option is a charitable trust, which could provide for a nonprofit organization. Furthermore, a person who wants to pass on a business to family members might think in terms of succession planning. This means choosing people for key roles in the event of death or becoming incapacitated. Passing on values might also mean ensuring that a relative with special needs is cared for. With a special needs trust, the relative can receive assistance without jeopardizing any government benefits.

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