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  • Writer's pictureShannon Marino

How Creating A Life & Legacy Plan With Us Creates And Preserves Your Family's Legacy

When you think about loved ones who’ve passed away, you probably don’t think very much—or even at all—about the “things” they’ve left you. When they do leave something behind, what you likely cherish most about the object are the memories and feelings the item evokes, not the thing itself.

One of my favorite childhood memories involved going over to my great-grandparents house on Sunday afternoons to sneak treats and climb the orange trees in their back yard. Every Sunday, my brother, sister, and I would sit with my great-grandfather, Lt. Col. Marvil P. Hawkins, while he read the Sunday funnies to us... you know...the comics in the newspaper. The Lt. Col. had this deep barking voice from yelling commands and smoking cigars all his life. He served in four wars, was a Shriner, and a true American hero. Most people feared his intimidating voice, but to his great-grandchildren, it was home to us.

Thinking back on it, I'm sure it was quite comical for the adults in the room to hear him read Calvin and Hobbs while trying to not sound like he was shouting commands. We'd usually make it most of the way through the paper before he tossed it aside and tempted us with a trip to 7-11 for a slurpee while he took a few puffs from his cigar.

He passed away in the early 90, before everyone carried cameras and recorders on their phones. I recently re-discovered some home videos and scoured the tapes for glimpses of my great grandparents. In there end, there wasn't a single moment of the Lt. Col's voice captured on video and only a fleeting image or two of him. I would have given anything to hear his voice again.

The loss of my great-grandparents, who were instrumental in shaping the person I am today, inspired me to build my firm with a family-centered focus on estate planning. We ensure none of our client's memories are lost by capturing all their stories in what is known as the Family Wealth Legacy Interview.

Family Wealth Legacy Interviews: Sharing Your Family’s Unique Story

As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we recognize that estate planning isn’t just about protecting and passing on your financial wealth and other tangible assets when you die. When done right, estate planning supports you to pass down the most precious assets of all—your life stories, lessons, insights, and values—and done so intentionally. That’s why we call it Life & Legacy Planning, not just estate planning.

To collect and preserve what truly matters most, we include a unique service in every estate plan we create for our clients. When you plan with us, we will personally guide you to create a customized recording for the people you love in which you share your most insightful lessons, memories, and experiences. From there, we will provide you with the recording digitally to ensure it will survive long after you—and your money—are gone.

If this sounds overwhelming or difficult in any way, it’s not. Our clients consistently tell us they are surprised about how easy it was, and how quickly they were able to create a truly meaningful gift for the people they love. Most importantly, what they also tell us is that it brings more intention and awareness to how they want to pass on their values, insights, stories, and experiences to the people they love on a day-to-day basis going forward.

Best of all, the Family Wealth Legacy Process is offered at no additional cost to you, since it is part of each plan we create for our clients. The process of documenting this recording is as easy and convenient as possible: We use a series of helpful questions and prompts, which makes the process both easy and enjoyable. From start to finish, the entire process takes less than an hour.

My favorite part about this process is that most of our clients tell us that going through it helps them rekindle life moments and memories they would otherwise not share with their loved ones. Indeed, this unique process can enrich your family with something far more valuable than any tangible asset you might leave, and instead leave behind a lasting legacy of love.

Life & Legacy Planning

In the end, your family’s most precious wealth is not money, but the memories you make, the values you instill, and the lessons you hand down. Left to chance, these assets are likely to be lost forever just like my memories of my great-grandfather's voice.

That said, recording your Family Wealth Legacy Interview is just a start. To protect and preserve your family’s tangible wealth and other assets, you should create a comprehensive estate plan. Yet, we’ve discovered that “estate planning” is really a misnomer. When done right, it’s really about planning for a life you love and a legacy worth leaving by the choices you make today—which is why we call it Life & Legacy Planning.

Your Life & Legacy Plan goes far beyond simply creating documents and then never seeing us again. We will develop a relationship with you and your family that lasts not only for your lifetime, but for the lifetime of your children and their children if that’s your wish. This all starts with our Family Wealth Planning Session. If you’d like to learn more about this process or schedule your appointment, contact us, your local Personal Family Lawyer® today.

This article is a service of The Law Offices of Shannon J. Marino, Personal Family Lawyer®. We do not just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

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