Planning Your Legacy

The foundation of all planning

Many families who have amassed substantial means remain unsure whether they have enough to last for their lifetime. This question mark stands in the way of decision making in other areas. We view planning as a pyramid-shaped, decision-making hierarchy.

The foundation of the pyramid is Financial Independence. We begin here, collecting and documenting your current net worth and sources of future income. Then we look at current and anticipated spending. This process confirms your lifetime financial freedom. The next layer is Family Legacy. These are the assets you may choose to pass to heirs. Some believe this layer of planning should maximize wealth to children and minimize taxes. We believe Family Legacy planning should mirror your comfort level and your belief system.

Social Capital: The top of the pyramid

When the first two layers are in place, your remaining assets will either flow into the tax system by default, or can be channeled to charity with intent. We help clients to awaken their passions — the ways in which they can make a personal mark on the community, an institution or a particular cause. For three generations our partners and associates have been active in philanthropy throughout our communities. We have found joy in repairing the broken parts of our world. We have helped clients create their own joy through developing and implementing a personal philanthropic vision.

The Discovery Profile is our process of gathering information about our clients’ mission, vision, values, and goals through a series of meetings. We have proprietary software that allows us to take all this information and produce a comprehensive report which not only identifies the vision, importance, strengths, obstacles, and recommendations for each goal, but also allows us to analyze our clients’ financial independence. It is through this process that our clients achieve clarity and can then move forward into action.

Once the clients’ goals are identified, the clients and their attorney can decide upon a course of action. For our estate planning clients, this may mean executing wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and living wills. For other clients it may mean responding to or initiating litigation, or embarking upon a business succession plan.

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can experience. At Lehmann Norman & Marcus we help our client navigate the often confusing world of estate administration. We are here to provide support and legal expertise to our clients in this most difficult time. Estate administration may involve opening a succession, dealing with the transfer of assets, closing accounts, filing an estate tax return, and funding trusts.

Laws change, our clients’ lives change. And because of that our relationship with our clients does not just end with the execution of documents. Maintaining that estate or business succession plan is just as important as executing it. Many, if not most, plans will be need to be reexamined at regular intervals to ensure that the plan is still relevant.

Everyone needs to plan

Often, the process of planning carries a cumbersome connotation. It is something you have to endure and get done.

We believe there is an altogether different goal that lies in wait in the minds of established families and business owners. We believe that every financially successful family has a desire to leave its mark on this world, and to determine how to make its wealth a positive factor in the children’s lives. We further believe there is a process for achieving this goal that is pleasant, replacing the anticipated drudgery with inspiration.

The Planning Horizon helps chart the course

When families consider planning, they often arrive at a crossroads. They’ve become more financially successful than ever anticipated and the wealth is a courier for complexity.

The sheer magnitude of the decision-making process causes many families to feel overwhelmed. Not knowing where to start, many find that a common action becomes inaction. Meanwhile, the questions loom larger and larger in the backs of their minds.

To help families break free from this cycle, we use a decision-making tool called The Planning Horizon. It provides structure to decisions that seem to have none and helps solve problems that appear to lack a logical solution.

The Planning Horizon

The Planning Horizon is a conceptual horizontal line that separates vision development from tactical execution. Conversations begin above the horizon line with an exploration of the broader intent for your wealth. Once this vision is clear, we can proceed below the horizon line to explore which legal strategies and tools align with your vision.