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Estate planning to leave a legacy

Many people hope to leave a legacy for their community or their loved ones. Some people have dreams of having their names etched in stone at a local park, and others have more personal family legacies they hope to leave behind. A legacy can be whatever you make it, and estate planning can help support that legacy.

Wills and trusts along with proper estate planning can help make sure a person's property and other assets are divided up and used according to the person's wishes. A will can help a person make specific bequests (such as a piece of jewelry) to a person or general bequests (a percentage of property). They can also help a person designate a guardian for any minor children.

Another document that is useful is a trust. This document can be used along with a will, and doesn't replace the need for a will. Sometimes people use trusts for tax planning purposes, but they can also be used to secure property if a person becomes incapacitated. A trust must have a trustee, who manages the trust. Assets within a trust can be distributed in a way that the trust lists. This trust can also designate how a certain asset might be used by a person or organization that it is left to.

These estate planning documents can help each person leave their own legacy in their own way. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help make sure these documents are set up properly to accomplish your goals.

Source: Patch, "Leaving a Legacy Requires Planning and Effort," Eric Taitz, Nov. 30, 2012

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