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A well-developed legacy plan: what does it include?

Today was the big day. I’ve been committed to acquiring a legacy plan, now, for almost a year and a half. Of course, I don’t merely want a plan; I want to implement a plan. But simply to get a proposal in hand so Sarita and I can look at it and (hopefully) say, “Yay, verily, this is what we want to do . . . ” –It’s been just shy of a year and a half.

So our legacy planner and his assistant came to our office and we spent about 3 1/2 hours going through their proposed plan. And it includes:

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Problems with Safe Deposit Boxes

I have been told that you want to stay away from safe deposit boxes for documents your executor and heirs will need. I.e., store your will, your living trust, and so forth somewhere other than in a safety deposit box. Otherwise, they may be locked out of access to the very documents they need!

But the following video shows an additional danger–your money-hungry state government. I believe you will find it well worth your while to take the 5 minutes to watch this ABC News report . . . or read it here!

You’ll get to hear–or see–the stories of a San Francisco woman whose jewelry, appraised at over $80,000, was sold out from under her even though she was current on all of her box rental fees, lived a few blocks from her bank, and had not moved; or of a man whose retirement savings, consisting of $4 million worth of stocks were sold so the State of California could get $200,000; and . . . Well, watch . . . or read.

Key points: If you have a safe deposit box that you want to use,

  • Keep in touch with the bank . . . at least once a year so there is no way the bank can have any excuse to claim you have abandoned the box.
  • Make sure you have created a list of the contents and provided it to your heirs and/or executor.
  • Pray your state doesn’t become quite as greedy as California!

By the way: To find missing property, check out ABC’s recommended sources:

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A new model for effective philanthropy

Sean Stannard-Stockton, CEO of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors, a philanthropy advisory firm that serves individual and family philanthropists, raises a number of questions that seem to lead toward an entirely new way of practicing philanthropy. And when you first read his questions, you may think he is off his rocker. But read on, and I think you’ll discover, as he suggests, that the new way of giving “is likely to be a lot more effective” and “a lot more fun” than methods currently followed by too many foundations.

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Learn from Roger Federer . . .

The Wall Street Journal featured an article Friday about Roger Federer who is scheduled to begin seeking the Wimbledon championship for the seventh time tomorrow. From my perspective, the article, Federer’s Best Shot, provides a perfect lesson in longevity–maintaining yourself at the top of your game for a long time.

“The most remarkable part of the Federer story . . . has been his uncanny ability to fend off physical and emotional fatigue and remain motivated,” writes Tom Perrotta.

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Preparing a legacy plan

I thought this was a nice way to summarize a lot of the issues you should think about before talking with an attorney or other legacy planning professional about your legacy plan:

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The three-year rule

Once you’ve put your initial estate plan/legacy plan together, you should plan to review it every three years. Indeed, you should condition yourself to think of estate planning as a continuous process. Don’t believe that?

Check out these reasons for review suggested by the development/stewardship officers at Frontiers USA.

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Planning for succession in an emergency

This issue came up a couple of weeks ago when Greg, our company’s controller, and I were trying to set up a wire transfer. Greg raised some questions about security and who ought to have rights to initiate wire transfers and who should have the power to authorize them. As we agreed that our controls should be tightened, a new set of questions arose: “What happens,” he asked, “if you and Sarita–the company’s only officers–are both gone for a lengthy period of time? Maybe you are on an international trip and something happens to you, so you are unable to return in a timely manner. Of course we don’t want to think about it, but what happens if both of you are killed in a car crash . . . ?”

Good questions!

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How rich are you?

I was reading a thread on the Sonlight Curriculum forums yesterday about the demise of the middle class. I will confess, I was dismayed to read about how little some of the participants on that forum are getting by on each year. But then I did a little research this morning using a tool my wife brought to my attention earlier this week: The Global Rich List.

As the people who put that site together explained in a recent blog post,

[T]he Global Rich List, launched in 2003, continues to surprise people with their unexpected financial ranking in the world – which makes them feel instantly better about their income, and in turn puts them in a much happier place to think about giving some of it to a good cause.

Where do you stand? I think you’ll be surprised!

And for those of us who are thinking about legacy–either legacy planning or, simply, passing on a legacy–I think it can be helpful to be surprised, to have our thinking expanded.

So, I’m curious: Does the websites result surprise you? Change your perception either of yourself or of the world? How do you think it may change your behavior?

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Living wills: What measures do you want your caregivers to take?

I got thinking about the matter of my living will due to an article I read by a guy whose dad asked him to help him (the dad) kill himself.

I was astonished where my mind went.

I would appreciate receiving your input.

Please participate in the Strategic Inheritance Legacy Lounge Forum.

Thanks!

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