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Giving back is about linking passion with action, and it does not have to be complex—but it does have to be well thought out to be effective.

As many well-to-do but generous Americans can attest, your philanthropy can do more than just help the cause or causes important to you. So why not bless your family as well as your charities as part of your legacy?

To make philanthropy a part of your legacy, you do not have to be a Carnegie to have your name put on this or that building. For most of us, our family is our most important and lasting legacy. Consequently, philanthropy can be what binds a family together and passes down real enduring values to the younger generations, all while doing tangible good today.

This is not automatic. It requires more than estate planning, or even charitable gift planning, but what is called legacy planning. To give you a quick run-down and even a guide, you might consider the ten steps that formed the basis of a recent Private Wealth magazine article titled “10-Step Legacy Planning.

The ten by title alone are:

  1. Identify What Inspires
  2. Create A Giving Mission Statement
  3. Review Giving History
  4. Engage The Next Generation
  5. Research Non-Profit Organizations
  6. Form A [Family] Focused Team
  7. Decide Where To Give
  8. Build The Strategy
  9. Present Customized Recommendations
  10. Implement The Strategy

Be sure to read the original article for the details on these ten steps. In the meantime, there is no time like the present to get started on the first step. So, what “inspires” you?

Reference: Private Wealth (January 7, 2014) “10-Step Legacy Planning

For more information on charitable planning and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.