Legacy is not about what we leave at the end of
our lives, but how we choose to live every moment
of our lives.
Legacy planning is not only about making an end-of-life plan, and it is so much more than leaving financial assets to our heirs and charities. Legacy is more than what we leave behind us at end of our lives; it's about how we choose to live each moment. In this sense, planning is not about leaving a legacy, but about living our legacy. It is about reaching our human potential and intentionally making a positive imprint on the world each day of our lives.
Whether we are working with a matriarch and patriarch, next generation millennial, or a professional athlete, everyone wants to be happy. Maybe Aristotle was correct when he said, "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” This begs the question. "What is happiness?" and "How is it achieved?" There is now a lot of research that has identified those attributes and skills that contribute to happiness. For example, gratefulness, giving back, and faith. In chapter 3 of Legacy: The Hidden Keys to Optimizing Your Family Wealth Decisions, we discuss the topic of happiness in greater detail.
How do I transfer my wealth to my children is by far one of the top questions that keep parents up at night. Behind this very important question lies the following questions. "How much do I transfer?" "When do I transfer?" and, "If I don't equally transfer my assets to each of my heirs, will they think it is unfair?" We help parents answer these question using a five-step non-technical process. What we mean by non-technical is that we don't help parents answer this larger question from a tax minimization or asset protection perspective, instead from what is the best solution(s) given the values of the family and the readiness of the next generation. In chapter 4 of Legacy: The Hidden Keys to Optimizing Your Family Wealth Decisions, we discuss the topic of transferring wealth in greater detail.
Research shows that one of the primary reasons why families are not able to successfully transfer wealth across the generations is because the next generation is not prepared. All to often, most planning focuses on preparing the assets for the family, we focus on preparing the family for the assets. We believe that preparing the next generation is not only about how the parents prepare their children, but how the children prepare themselves as they begin to move into young adulthood. Our approach also focuses on raising their Life IQ, not just their Financial IQ. In chapter 5 of Legacy: The Hidden Keys to Optimizing Your Family Wealth Decisions, we discuss the topic of next generation preparation in greater detail.
The giving and sharing of our resources - or what we refer to as our capitals - with others is one of the core attributes that define a happy and fullfilled life. However, we believe there is an over emphasis on giving and sharing of ones financial capital which suggests that unless one has an abundance of financial capital, they are not able to be philanthropic. Some of the most generous people I have met have little financial assets. The true meaning of philanthropy is the love and welfare of others. We believe that giving and sharing via intentional random acts of kindness, for example, happens more often through our other capitals: intellectual, social, human, and spiritual. This perspective allows everyone the potential to be a great philanthropist. In chapter 6 of Legacy: The Hidden Keys to Optimizing Your Family Wealth Decisions, we discuss the topic of giving and sharing in greater detail.
Whether we are working with other family members in a privately held business, on the board of the family foundation, or co-responsible for some other shared family resource, a skill set is required to effectively navigate the decisions and dynamics associated with a shared family resource. For example, listening, managing differences, and adapting. Being related by blood or marriage is very important, however, all too often not enough to effectively make important decisions together and ensure that the family relationships continue to flourish. For example, only a very small percentage of family businesses are able to successfully transfer the business across the generations. In chapter 7 of Legacy: The Hidden Keys to Optimizing Your Family Wealth Decisions, we discuss the topic of taken care of the business of the family in greater detail.