Values Based Planning

In estate planning, we often speak of values based planning.  For me this phrase really brings to mind two distinct ideas.  The first is using your estate planning as a platform to share your values in writing with your loved ones.  This can be done in several ways, including the preparation of a value statement.  A value statement is a written statement included in or with your planning, where you share life lessons, beliefs or philosophies.  It is one last teaching moment. I believe such a statement can inspire your children and grandchildren and become a treasured family heirloom.Another, and perhaps even more effective, way to share your values is through the decisions you make in your planning.  If you believe that a strong work ethic is important; does your planning create an incentive for self-reliance or does it establish an entitlement system that encourages hand-outs?  If you believe in helping the poor and needy; have you included gifts to charity or otherwise that reflect this value?As always, teaching is about both word and deed.  As you begin the planning process or consider revising your existing plan, please think about how you can incorporate your values into that plan.  If you do so the gift will truly be priceless.