Value Freedom? Here’s Why an Estate Plan Is Your Declaration of Independence

As you celebrate the Fourth of July and all it represents – freedom, independence, and the pursuit of happiness – take pride in the ultimate American liberty: the right to decide your own affairs, even after death or in the event of incapacity. An estate plan, specifically a Life & Legacy Plan, is the way to express your liberty. It’s your personal Declaration of Independence. You might wonder, how can an estate plan give me freedom?

How a Life & Legacy Plan Empowers You

Creating a Life & Legacy Plan (a unique estate planning process we use in our office) preserves your self-determination, protects your family, grows your wealth, and defines your legacy on your own terms. Just as the Founding Fathers declared freedom from the British crown over two centuries ago, your Life & Legacy Plan declares your autonomy from the courts, state laws, and conflicting viewpoints that could unravel your final intentions. Here’s how it works.

You Already Have a Plan – Is It the Right One?

First, understand that you already have a plan for what happens if you become incapacitated or when you die. The government has created a default plan for you, without your input. Alternatively, you may have created your own plan but didn’t fully understand your choices, haven’t updated it, or might not own your assets in a way that aligns with your plan.

With a Life & Legacy Plan, you get to override the government’s plan with your own choices. You decide how your assets are collected and distributed – whether that’s providing for certain loved ones, leaving assets to chosen family members who aren’t related by blood but have become close kin, or donating to charitable causes dear to your heart.

A Life & Legacy Plan evolves with you. As your assets, life circumstances, and laws change, so does your plan. It grows with you, ensuring it’s always relevant and effective.

The Liberation of Making Informed Decisions

Planning for incapacity or death is essentially planning for your best possible life and the best possible life for those you love. Accepting that you will die one day and may become incapacitated first, and wanting your family and assets to be cared for in a specific way, naturally informs how you allocate your resources throughout your life.

We call this “eyes wide open” decision-making. It leads to the optimal use and allocation of your resources, making things easier for your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death. For instance, by considering how you want to be cared for if incapacitated, you can ensure you have the necessary relationships and financial means to support those who will care for you or your children. This approach avoids leaving things to chance or to a judge, which we call “eyes squeezed shut/pretend it’s not going to happen” decision-making.

The Power to Choose

The most mature, adult, and loving thing you can do for yourself and those you care about is to clarify in advance how you want to be cared for if you cannot care for yourself, who should make decisions for you, and how you want those decisions made. Additionally, it’s critical to provide a roadmap for your loved ones so they know what you have, where it is, and how to find it.

Establishing a Life & Legacy Plan accomplishes all this, regardless of how much or how little you have. Your loved ones will have to deal with your assets, whether it’s a little or a lot. Your clear choices while you are living empower them and minimize their stress during a time of grief. With our Life & Legacy Plan, you can account for special circumstances like children or spouses from previous marriages, loved ones with disabilities, or family members you intentionally want to omit. No more worries about assets being unfairly split or ending up in the wrong hands.

Holding a family meeting can unite your loved ones around a shared understanding of your intentions rather than driving them apart through conflicts and differing interpretations. Your Life & Legacy Plan gives you the power to create more ease for yourself and those you love.

A Declaration of How You Want to Be Remembered

Your Life & Legacy Plan is your final declaration of the values and life experiences you’ll impart to loved ones and the world. Use this opportunity to leave a meaningful legacy, rather than leaving a mess and drama.

All of our plans include a Life & Legacy recording that guides you to express your deepest hopes, guiding wisdom, and ethical frameworks acquired over decades. Share cherished stories, meaningful quotes, and philosophies that give your life meaning. This recording is the most meaningful gift your family will cherish and carry into future generations.

Make Your Own Declaration of Freedom

This Independence Day, make your own personal declaration of freedom by establishing a comprehensive Life & Legacy Plan. Take pride in exercising your liberties to the fullest by removing uncertainties over your final affairs and ensuring your true wishes will be honored.

Let Us Be Your Life & Legacy Planning Partner

At Cheever Law, APC, we don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love, starting with a valuable and educational Life & Legacy Planning Session. This will allow you to get more financially organized and make the best choices for the people you love. If you have already completed your estate plan, we will review that plan at your Life & Legacy Planning Session to ensure that it will work the way you intend and address any holes or gaps that may be present if circumstances have changed since you executed your plan.   

To learn more about our one-of-a-kind systems and services, contact us or schedule a no-obligation 15-minute introductory phone call today.