Does Your Estate Plan Have a Gaping Hole?

Forget your wealth and possessions: Your beliefs, values and wisdom could be the most treasured assets you pass down to the ones you love. To get the ball rolling on a plan for that transfer, you could start by simply writing a letter.

(Image credit: CreativaImages)

“My father wrote me a lovely letter before he died. It is the most cherished thing I own,” a woman whom I was advising about passing on non-financial assets told me on the phone. I’ve heard similar statements from many others. I’ve also heard the opposite: “I wish I had taken the time to ask my mother about her life before she died,” or “It’s sad; I didn’t really know my grandparents, and they left nothing behind but a few photos.”

Oftentimes, people don’t think about the intangibles they should pass on to their heirs. Estate planning is so wrapped up in transferring financial assets that this becomes the focus. Once your financial team hands you your estate plan, you think you’ve got all your bases covered: You’ve got life insurance, a trust to avoid probate, an appointed executor and so on.

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This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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Laura A. Roser
Founder and CEO, Paragon Road

Laura A. Roser is the founder and CEO of Paragon Road, the leading authority in meaning legacy planning (passing on non-financial assets, such as values, wisdom and beliefs). For more information about legacy planning, visit