There are things that live on from generation to generation without any thought, effort or planning.
Surnames date back hundreds of years. Facial features perpetuate for generations. Medical conditions, such as heart disease and hearing loss, can be found in grandparents, parents and their children.
Names, looks and health connect people to one another--either through moniker, aesthetically or medically--whether they like it or not.
Then there are those things in life that require extra effort in order to preserve and pass on to family members from the present as well as the future: wealth, values, traditions. These are the things that truly matter, the virtues that you (and perhaps your parents and grandparents) worked hard to build, protect and instill in your children.
They are the virtues that can secure your legacy--as well as that of your family--for generations to come.
But they require a plan in order to be properly preserved and passed on. That is where heritage planning comes into play.
What is Heritage Planning?
Heritage is defined as "something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition; something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; and something that is reserved for one.
It can also be used in a legal sense, as in "something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession."
Heritage planning combines each of these definitions, allowing you to intentionally and strategically pass on to your loved ones not only your assets, but your values and traditions as well.
It requires communication, trust, practicing prosperity economics, planning, teaching, transition planning, leadership and a commitment to respecting the line between preserving wealth and preserving the overall health of the family unit.
In other words, families that commit to heritage planning make time for both business and fun--and they do so to protect their wealth, values and traditions.
How Does Heritage Planning Work?
Most financial planners focus almost entirely on wealth--building it, protecting it and passing it on to your heirs.
While this model has worked well on a financial level, it hasn't helped families preserve the things that helped them build their wealth in the first place, including a commitment to prosperity economics, education, traditions, values and all of the other things that hold families together through good times, bad times and times that are good for some, bad for others.
Maybe that's why 90 percent of families fail to hold both their assets and family unity together for more than two generations.
The other 10 percent tend to use elements of heritage planning. Heritage planning works differently than traditional financial planning because it focuses on more than just money. Its elements include:
- trust between generations
- clear plans for both the present and the future
- family fun
- a broad definition of "wealth"
- separation between family business and business of being a family
- clear roles for family members
These elements work when they are used as tools for practicing prosperity economics as well as building a strong family unit that remains true to longheld family values and traditions.
When Should You Start Heritage Planning?
Strong, successful families take action. They don't wait for a crisis to emerge before they circle the wagons and stand up for one another--and they are always planning for a brighter future.
Now is the best time to start heritage planning.
Begin by committing to prosperity economics and then build from there.
You current and future family members will thank you--and remember you through the traditions and values you preserved and passed along to them.