Leaving more than just an estate

The terms “estate planning” and “legacy planning” are often used interchangeably. While both are important, they are very different. Estate planning utilizes wealth transfer strategies, beneficiary designations, and legal documents such as a will or a trust to efficiently guide the transfer of assets upon death.

Legacy planning considers how to use your two most valuable assets to make a lasting impact: your time and your wealth. We commonly hear from retirees that they are busier than ever and don’t have a lot of time to give away. On the financial side, giving away some of your nest egg might create anxiety if there is uncertainty about how much you may need. Fortunately, some of the greatest gifts you can give do not require a lot of time or money.

1. Plan it out

Let’s start by talking about it. We talk to clients every day about how to achieve their goals – including the best way to organize and prioritize their estate and their legacy. Often, we can share practical ideas and helpful experiences from other clients who are finding they are able to tick both boxes.

2. Do what you love

If you love spending time with the grandkids, make more trips to see them. Spend time teaching the things that maybe Mom and Dad don’t have time for with their busy schedules. We heard from one client whose grandson helped him restore a classic car. If you are passionate about animals, perhaps volunteer at your local animal shelter. It’s a lot easier to find the time when you are combining your love with your legacy.

3. Teach someone to fish (not actual fishing- unless you love that, and then it falls under #2)

We are seeing a major shift in retirement. Pensions are all but a thing of the past, and Social Security and Medicare will require major changes or risk running out of funds. You might know people who are working long past when they had hoped because they need insurance benefits or simply did not save enough. If there is one thing you can do to leave a legacy, it is to educate the people you care about to prepare them for their future. 

Start a 529 account for your grandkids, or gift a few shares of stock so they can watch it grow. Invite your kids into an account review when you meet with your wealth advisor. Show them how and why you are investing your funds. In turn, you can make sure they have a plan and are saving enough. We enjoy meeting the people in your life and consider it part of our job to share our knowledge with them.

One of the best parts of legacy planning is that it shifts your mindset away from pondering the end of your own life and towards the lasting impact you can make on the lives of others.  A multi-generational family vacation, a graduation of an underprivileged youth that you assisted through mentorship or scholarship, or a taught skill and shared love of your favorite hobby are all things that you can enjoy and will become memories that are never forgotten. 

Time is the one asset that inevitably runs out for all of us. But your family, loved ones, or charitable organizations will know that you cared enough about them to think about them during your life and beyond it. Save them from the burden of family squabbles and a lengthy legal process by making your estate planning and legacy planning a top priority this year

Perhaps the greatest use of life is to spend it on a legacy that will outlast it.


Chris Jay, CFP

Chris Jay, CFP

Wealth Advisor

Chris Jay serves as a Senior Wealth Manager at CI Doyle Private Wealth. As CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ Professional, his expertise is working with clients to review and manage their retirement, insurance, tax, and estate planning needs, and working with them to create an investment strategy that aligns their unique goals and needs. He serves both on the Investment and research committees at the firm.

After graduating from Flagler College in St. Augustine with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Chris began his career with Fidelity Investments where he provided guidance and advice for more than $400M in assets. He helped develop retirement income plans and helped them consider investment and income strategies.

Chris and his wife Nicole live in South Tampa and enjoy travel and activities with their kids Henley and Greyson and two whippets.


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