What is a Trust?

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Trust ● a legal entity created through a written document that creates a fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as the trustor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property and/or assets on behalf of one or more individuals, the beneciciary.

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Four Building Blocks for Your Legacy Plan

By: Don West, Jr., @DonWestJr

To Will or Not to Will?

Probably because June is National Make-A-Will Month, (promoted by LegalZoom, and brilliant for our industry and the families we serve), I have been entertaining the question,

Is estate planning just having a Will?

Certainly for centuries, possibly for millenia, a Will has been about the only practical tool available for those interested in multi-generational strategic planning and wealth transfer. With regards to estate planning today, the field has grown to be one of the most technically demanding and comprehensive areas of the law. With the growth of the field there are now dozens upon dozens of tools and instruments to assist and customize your estate planning goals.

Because estate planning embodies actions associated and tied to your hopes, dreams and concerns for yourself and for your loved ones there are many examples throughout history that show the use of Wills & Trusts to deal with personal property all the way back to the Roman empire. Additionally, Wills are functionally spoken of in the Old Testament (in Genesis 48), where Jacob bequeaths to his son Joseph, a portion of his inheritance, double to that of his brethren. Personal trust law developed in England at the time of the Crusades, during the 12th and 13th centuries. So you may be asking, what about my Spiritual or Intangible Estate, those intangible things that truly matter, the stories and ideas that uniquely make me, me? That is what Legacy Planning is all about.

What is Legacy Planning?

Legacy Planning is a compliment to the estate planning process and focuses on the intangible assets a person or family posses. In short, Legacy Planning deals with gifts from the Soul. A critical element in the generation of a legacy is the ability to maintain a tangible presence beyond the actual span of one’s lifetime. While physical assets may be deemed a component of a person’s ultimate legacy, the focus on family or institutional history, values and the stories that define us dictates that every individual, family and entity can be enriched through implementing a strategic legacy plan.

It must be pointed out that the requirements of Legacy Planning place you on an inward spiritual journey. As such, comprehensive Legacy Planning is not for everyone, however, the four tools we discuss here can be utilized by any one who is seeking to improve their processes and development.

So let’s jump right in, here is a quick introduction to the Four Building Blocks of a Basic Personal Legacy Plan. They are:

#1 – Definitive Chief Aim, Purpose and/or Vision;
#2 – Personal Mission Statement;
#3 – Personal Legacy Statement; and,
#4 – Strategic Life Plan

Definitive Chief Aim, Purpose and/or Vision

Success requires a concentration of effort. Most people disperse their energies over too many things and so fail to develop to be outstanding in anything. In the words of new age thought pioneer Orison Swett Marden,

“The world does not demand that you be a lawyer, minister, doctor, farmer, scientist, or merchant; it does not dictate what you shall do, but it does require that you be a master in whatever you undertake.”

So to be successful, one must align their energy with their higher aims and goals and industriously pursue their realization.

Personal Mission Statement

Is a series of guiding principles strategically developed to guide both your daily and major life decisions. Best-Selling author and productivity-entrepreneur Stephen R. Covey is a pioneer in the area of Personal Mission Statements, here he is with concise guidance on how to develop your own:

If you are ready to get started on your personal mission statement, Covey’s company, FranklinCovey, offers an excellent free online tool.

Personal Legacy StatementAllows you to articulate what is closest to your heart. It creates a record of the messages and information to valuable too be lost and captures your reflections for the benefit of others as a timeless gift to future generations. Tim Morrison and I put together this resource to assist with crafting your Legacy Statement:


Synopsis:

Decades from now, when your grandchildren peak to their grandchildren about you, what would you like them to share? Are there family traditions that you hold dear and hope that they continue for generations to come? How will future generations learn the origins and importance of those traditions? A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Personal Legacy Statements helps you identify and generate responses to these questions and more. This is not a “how-to” book for writing a life story or family history, but a dynamic tool for sharing a legacy, your or your family’s legacy. Who and what have shaped your life? What do you value most? What do you want future generations to remember about you? A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Personal Legacy Statements enables you to create powerful personalized messages to be shared at the time of your choosing during your life or after your time has passed.

Strategic Life Plan

Puts purpose and direction with quantifiable goals and objectives tied to your personal mission statement. This plan allows you to dream your perfect future and then develop the steps to actually achieve your desires. Blogger and Publishing guru Michael Hyatt has excellent free tool for Creating Your Personal Life P lan:


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Don West, Jr.

is a Personne De Confiance, the Creator of the Legacy Pyramid and co-author of A Step-By-Step Guide To Crafting Personal Legacy Statements. Don serves as the Associate Director of Education to the Legacy Institute and assists the NFL’s Ricky Williams and other professional athletes plan and execute their second-careers and Personal Legacies.