Your estate vs. your legacy – the crucial difference

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Whatever your age, you have either already built your estate – or are in the course of doing so. Your estate is fundamentally everything you own, less everything you owe. It reflects who you are and what you have achieved.

No matter your position, at every stage of life your estate defines you because it represents where and how you live … every single day.

Your estate is a your life’s work-in-progress: you currently use its assets to live, grow and enjoy – and one day you’ll inevitably want to pass it on to loved ones. When you think that way, you are planning your estate.

Now consider this: your estate becomes complex because every item in it (bank accounts, investments, home, vehicle, valuables – everything) has not only important documents but also vital written (and verbal) information that relates to each item.

For example, to whom are you going to leave that painting, that watch, those books? Maybe all to one person – or maybe divided among several – whatever you decide, people need to know. And if they don’t know, at best the result could be disappointment, and a family fight at worst – with perhaps a legal claim to go with it.

Key information may be in the form of your Will, Power of Attorney, Deed of Enduring Guardian, special receipt or important number. In short, all items in your estate comprise both documents and crucial information. So, while you are alive and in a position to do it, don’t fail to clearly inform your loved ones – and your executor – about all these items, otherwise you’ll be leaving behind a mess instead of a legacy.

Don’t let that happen.

Think of it this way … your estate is mostly made up of material assets, financial assets and personal possessions.

Your legacy is how people will remember you as a person.