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What is legacy planning, and how is it different from estate planning?

Almost everyone has heard about estate planning and some of the benefits of engaging in this process. Many individuals that have made significant contributions to society during their lifetime may also want to know what will become of their legacy when they pass on.

Legacy planning deals with more than assets. It pertains to the management of a person’s reputation. It honors their contribution by keeping it alive for future generations. Individuals who hold positions of power and influence often leverage their lives to continue making the world a better place. 

What is legacy planning?

A legacy is more than a reputation. It’s a lasting memory that is managed and curated to honor the mark that an individual left on the world. A legacy plan involves strategizing how to forward that legacy of giving into the future. The following are types of people that may be interested in crafting a legacy plan:

  • Presidents or owners of an institute of higher learning
  • Captains of industry
  • Inventors and innovators
  • Politicians or public servants
  • Curators or owners of museums 
  • Leaders or founders of philanthropic organizations 
  • Leaders of secret or social societies
  • Cultural leaders in the arts

Many people have lived their lives in such a way that their contribution is significant and long-lasting. Legacy planning is the curation of that legacy for future generations. 

How does legacy differ from estate planning?

Legacy planning is a subset of estate planning. Traditional estate planning deals with the distribution of assets, property and debts. Legacy planning deals with allocating resources to ensure the preservation of an individual’s legacy in alignment with the deceased person’s values, faith, morals and philosophy. 

The legacy of Alfred Nobel as an example

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish inventor of dynamite. However, after seeing the horrifying applications of his potentially destructive invention, Nobel created the Nobel Peace Prize to curate his legacy. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to those that have “conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.” The legacy planning of Nobel is a fine example of how investing in one’s image now can shape how future generations view them. 

People create their own legacy during this life. Legacy planning allows you to preserve it for when you pass away.