Planning your legacy is not something to just be considered a topic for those considered to be "rich and famous". In fact legacy planning, which begins with foundational documents such as a basic will, was overlooked by many "rich and famous" individuals.

Prominent people, according to Forbes magazine who passed without a will include Prince, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimi Hendrix, Pablo Picasso, Howard Hughes and Michael Jackson to name a few.

While it seems unlikely that folks who appear to have the access and the means would leave "business unattended to", the fact is that many individuals do not create a roadmap for their legacyfinancial and otherwise.

A legacy gift to future generations can take many forms. It is important to understand the process and tools to leave the gifts you plan on giving.

While not often difficult, it is wise and prudent to consult a trained legal and/or financial planning professional to adequately and accurately identify and designate your distributions. Again, we all have something to "give", not only the "rich and famous", so considering your options it prudent and often more impactful that you think.

Gifts, or legacies, can take several formats and often several forms are part of a legacy or estate plan; to name a few:

Bequests via a will or trust transfer the asset upon death

Retirement Plans IRAs, 401(k), or other qualified plans name a designated beneficiary

Life Insurance naming a beneficiary upon your death

Payable on Death (POD) or Transferable on Death (TOD) accounts name a designated beneficiary of bank accounts or investment accounts

Charitable gift vehicles creating various tax deductions and streams of income

Everyone has a legacy, everyone has a financial legacy, no matter how great or small. Your legacy, no matter the value, should be determined by you.

With a bit of conversation and planning, you can determine the impact your assets have, and where that impact occurs.

The financial impact, as well as the impact of your vision and spirit, can be directed by a bit of planning.

Contemplate those people and organizations significant in your life;

Connect and have conversations with those organizations to determine their needs and their particular processes for receiving your potential generosity;

Craft with appropriate professional assistance the vehicles and documents necessary to transfer your legacy as you direct and desire;

Celebrate your spirit and connections to various people and organizations;

Consider thoughtful planning as a part of a contribution to your legacy and the continuation of the good philanthropic cause(s) you select.

While the "rich and famous" may have the ability to make large, financial, significant gifts, all gifts are significant and the time it takes to consider those causes dear to your heart and soul is time well spent.

Submitted by Susan M. Figler, JD, MA, Director of Constituent Relations, Old Trail School