When you hear the phrase “estate planning,” what do you think about? Most often, people think about a plan for death that passes on assets, or some variation of that theme. Now, what is your most important asset to pass on to your loved one? “Home” and “life insurance” are often the answers given.
Now, let’s imagine that you had thirty minutes to spend with your loved ones and share with them what matters most to you. What would you want to talk about?
Mostly likely, it is to share with them how much you love them, how proud you are of them, that you want them to be happy, and what matters most to you (for example, education, faith, or marriage).
Do you see the disconnect between what you believe estate planning is about and what matters most to you? That is because an estate plan, even though it is all about love, is really limited to just a transfer of assets from one generation to another. It does not capture or express what you care about most.
There is another way. A purposeful plan helps you pass on your values and your wealth. If anything, identifying and passing on your values is more important than your assets. This is because your values determine how you want to pass on your assets and because research is showing that our values and life choices are often independent from our net worth.
Hopefully, you already have a good idea of your values and have been trying to teach those values to your loved ones for their entire lives. If so, that is excellent. What we are really fighting against is time and the loss of memories. An estate plan does not express your values, and so they might be forgotten. However, a purposeful plan incorporates your values and preserves them in writing. This makes them harder for your loved ones to forget and easier to implement, even decades after you are gone. This is a more profound and comprehensive approach to blessing your loved ones lives, because after all, do you want to reduce your life to just your assets, or do you want others to know what mattered most to you?
Purposeful planning is the way we accomplish these goals. To read more about the theory behind purposeful planning, click here.