I’ve made a presentation to several different groups entitled “Life Is More Than Money: 5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes That Could Leave Your Family Without a Legacy.”  Why am I telling you that?  Because I recently read this NY Times article and it seems that more people are realizing the value of estate planning for their “intangible wealth.”  I’m happy to say I’ve been helping Grand Rapids area families plan for their “intangible wealth” for some time now through my focus on Whole Family Wealth Planning™.

The article points out the importance of considering and planning for the legacy you will leave for your family by thinking of the “intangible assets” you will pass on, such as your values, insights, stories and experiences.  I applaud the article’s author for realizing this important fact – when something happens to you, your “stuff” is left, but you are gone.  That may go without saying, but many families and, dare I say it, attorneys, don’t think about that.  That’s why I focus on helping families plan for who they are and what is important to them . . . not just what they have.

Remember, estate planning is not something you do for yourself.  It’s something that you do for those you love the most because they are the ones that will have to deal with the ease or burden of what you did or didn’t do planning-wise.  Estate planning really is an expression of your love for your family . . . one far greater than a new toy, going to the best college or having the nicest house.  You are planning for their future and future generations.

You’ll also notice that the author used a team approach to planning.  Absolutely . . . this is the best way to make sure you have all your “ducks in a row.”  A financial adviser, CPA and an estate planning attorney that focuses on Whole Family Wealth Planning™ are the keys to developing a lasting legacy.  Of course, the professionals need to have knowledge and experience in legacy planning, otherwise you end up with just a set of documents and nothing more.  Carefully consider this when you do estate planning.

And finally…DO IT!  Procrastination is the killer of legacies…don’t let your delay leave your family without the benefit of your life experiences and the guidance and direction you want for them.  Call us now at 616-827-7596 to schedule your Peace of Mind Planning Session (note the peace of mind the author got from planning).  Mention this blog post and we’ll waive the meeting fee ($750 value)!

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, and family owned business succession – and he is privileged to do so from a Christian perspective.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.