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Family Legacy Planning: Going Beyond the Will

Iwanyshyn & Associates Nov. 22, 2023

Senoir couple with attorney for estate planningEstate planning is an essential step in safeguarding our legacy and our future, and ensuring that our wishes are carried out after our passing. This isn't just about deciding how our wealth will be distributed, but also considering the impact it'll have on our family and loved ones. 

According to, 1 in 4 Americans have reported that the recent rise of inflation has caused them to see a greater need for estate planning. And yet, 2 out of every 3 Americans still do not have any documents in place. While wills are certainly a popular and powerful option, there's a whole range of other documents and strategies that can help us go beyond the will to achieve our legacy planning goals. 

As estate attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates, we've seen firsthand the power of comprehensive planning and the peace of mind it brings to individuals and families. Navigating legal terms and making informed decisions that align with your values and goals can be challenging, but that's where we come in.  

With our experience and knowledge, we're ready to guide you through this process with precision and a personal touch. If you're ready to get started today, reach out to our office in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, to schedule an initial consultation.  

The Powers and Limitations of a Will

A last will and testament is a fundamental estate planning tool. It can be defined as a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets will be distributed after your death. 

However, it does have its limitations. A will primarily addresses the transfer of assets, so it may not cover other important aspects of legacy planning such as: 

  • healthcare decisions,  

  • assets to be set aside for a beneficiary with special needs, 

  • and the future management of family-owned businesses. 

While a will can accomplish a lot, it may not be sufficient to fully address your legacy planning needs. To ensure a comprehensive plan, it's important to consider other crucial documents and strategies that can provide additional protection and guidance. 

Going Beyond the Will for Legacy Planning

To achieve your legacy planning goals, it's important to consider other essential documents and strategies. These include: 

  • Trusts: Trusts are powerful tools that allow you to transfer assets to beneficiaries while maintaining control over how and when those assets are distributed. They can protect from creditors, minimize estate taxes, and ensure a seamless, probate-less transfer of assets. 

  • Healthcare Directives: Healthcare directives (like a living will or a healthcare power of attorney) allow you to specify your medical treatment preferences and appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.  

  • Guardianship Designations: If you have minor children, it's crucial to designate a guardian who'll care for them in the event of your death or incapacity. This ensures that your children are taken care of by someone you trust and who shares your values. 

  • Business Succession Planning: If you own a family business, it's essential to have a plan in place for its succession. Determining who will take over the business and how it will be managed can foster continued success for both the company and your family.  

Incorporating these documents and strategies into your legacy plan can address a wide range of concerns and ensure that your wishes are carried out effectively. 

Things to Consider for Family Legacy Planning

When embarking on family legacy planning, there are several important factors to consider: 

  • Your Financial Vision: Clearly define your financial vision and determine how much control you want to have over the distribution of your assets. Consider your values, goals, and the impact you want to make on future generations. 

  • Communication: Open and honest communication with your family members is crucial. Discuss your legacy plan with them, explain your intentions, and address any concerns or questions they may have. 

  • Choosing the Right Trustee(s): Selecting a trustee who will manage your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out is a critical decision. Choose someone you trust and who has the necessary skills and knowledge to fulfill this role effectively. 

  • Charitable Intentions: If philanthropy is important to you, consider incorporating charitable giving into your legacy plan. Explore different charitable giving strategies and determine how you can make a positive impact on causes that matter to you. 

By carefully considering these factors and working with an experienced attorney, you can create a comprehensive family legacy plan that reflects your values, protects your assets, and ensures a smooth transition for future generations. At Iwanyshyn & Associates, we combine our financial knowledge with estate law experience, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. 

Innovative Solutions, Tailored to Your Legacy

At Iwanyshyn & Associates, we understand that every family is unique. That's why we're passionate about creating personalized solutions that reflect your specific legacy planning needs and goals. 

Our team of experienced attorneys will work with you to understand your values and concerns, analyze your financial situation, and help you make informed decisions that align with your vision for the future. Contact us today to start building a plan. From our firm in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, we're proud to assist those throughout Pittsburgh, Wexford, Cranberry, and Gibsonia.