Estate plans don’t have to be limited to money and assets—they can also include core values and beliefs that individuals wish to pass on to their heirs. In order to leave a “value legacy” that promotes a family’s values, the first step is to identify exactly what these values are.

In the On Wall Street article “The Best Ways to Help Clients’ Values Live On,John Goralka outlines ways to identify the core values that an individual or family would like to include in an estate plan. It can be helpful to envision which core principles or qualities are most important to the family, as well as which milestones heirs and descendants should aspire to reach. Mr. Goralka suggests thinking about how an estate plan properly encompasses the four C’s—character, competence, confidence, and core values.

Mr. Goralka also suggests that families consider creative strategies for ensuring that values stay alive in future generations, such as recording the family history, offering educational and inspirational resources, and creating incentive trusts to encourage descendants to surpass educational goals.

Well-crafted estate plans have the potential to shape and guide future generations. Passing on a values legacy can leave a lasting imprint on a family’s descendants, and ensure the continuing success and productivity of generations to come.

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