Websters Dictionary defines the term “Legacy” as: 1) a gift by will especially of money or other personal property, or 2) something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. As an estate planning attorney, I see the term “legacy” most often associated with the transfer of money or some item of real or perceived worth. While that most certainly is an appropriate use of the term under the first definition above, it’s a use that greatly diminishes what a legacy can and perhaps should be.
As an estate and special needs planning attorney, the great majority of people that I come into contact with, whether they be friends, clients, colleagues, or associates, have a charitable cause or belief that is very near and dear to their hearts.
Lately, the unknown future of the federal estate tax has taken the spotlight on the stage of estate planning issues. Will the government let the existing estate tax exemption phase out, thus making the exemption available only to those estates worth $1.5M or less?