clutterHave you thought about your legacy?

Everyone will leave a legacy. Some will be remembered by the inheritances they leave for loved ones. Some will be forever admired for the work they did to make the world a better place. Some will leave a legacy of loving memories.

Then there are those whose legacy is tarnished by piles of paperwork, deep debt, and unnecessary family feuds.

There are good and bad legacies – and leaving a good legacy doesn't require copious amounts of cash. You just need to avoid leaving your children these five things:

1. Clutter

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when people saved everything – jars, rope, plastic pails and anything else you can imagine. After all, the Great Recession wasn't that long ago and you never know when you're going to need 29 empty peanut butter containers, a Hefty bag full of plastic bags or six-dozen fake flowers.

But those days are gone.

Yesterday's family treasures and collections have become today's clutter. Children don't want a lot of it (and neither do grandchildren), so it's time to start giving things away, selling it or tossing it in the trash.

Otherwise, your loved ones could be faced with the frustrating, emotional taxing and physically tiring task of cleaning up the clutter.

2. Piles of Paperwork

Paperwork can be a real pain for loved ones – especially if it's not organized. Don't wait for a rainy day to get your affairs in order. Make sure all of your tax information, account information and passwords are organized and easy for your family to find.

If you need to, ask your family for help.

3. Deep Debt

Many people mistakenly believe that debt disappears when they die.

It doesn't.

Credit cards, medical bills and other unpaid debt still needs to be settled after someone passes away – and it can quickly eat up savings and cut into the value of estates.

When you leave deep debt, your loved ones are left to sort it all out, make decisions about your estate that you might not have agreed with and wonder what in the world you were thinking.

Pay off your debt as soon as possible so it doesn't become part of your legacy.

4. Family Feuds

One surefire way to leave a family feud as part of your legacy is to play around with your estate planning.

Want to start a family feud? Leave siblings with different amounts of money. Fail to clearly communicate your wishes. Tell different people different things. Ignore the "emotional inheritance" you're leaving for your family.

Do these things and you'll likely create chaos among those you love.

On the other hand, if you invest some time, energy and emotion in heritage planning now, and you'll help create a family that plays together, works well together and supports one another for generations to come.

5. Confusion

Studies have shown that about 90 percent of wealth (and nearly 100 percent of family harmony) is gone by the time it reaches the third generation.

This is likely because financial advisers have always seemed to focus on financial planning and estate planning, which protect and prepare your assets.

But what if they focused on heritage planning, which protects and prepares both your assets as well as your values, traditions and relationships.

Heritage planning leaves no doubt about how you built your wealth, what you value, what you expect of your family and how they can carry on your legacy after your gone.

If you're ready to leave a positive legacy – and use heritage planning – connect with The McGriff Alliance, who values far more than just your assets.

Heritage Design eBook

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