Celebrate National Mentoring Month this January by becoming a mentor to the people in your
life who have less life experience, whether they are your children or other loved ones. Mentors
can have a huge positive impact on a young person's life by sharing the wisdom, knowledge,
and experience they have gained to help their mentee develop skills and goals that will enable
them to succeed in life.
What does mentoring have to do with estate planning? You may think that estate planning is
only relevant when a person dies or is preparing to pass on their money and property upon their
death. However, estate planning can also involve strategies you implement during your lifetime
and provides a great mentoring opportunity. Here are three ways you can use estate planning to
guide your younger loved ones toward a more successful life:
(1) Give small gifts during your life to help your mentee reach a goal. First, help your
mentee learn why setting goals is important and how to set goals for their own life. For
example, if your mentee would like to start a business or pay for college, you could assist
them in creating a bank or investment account to save money for that purpose. You could
use gifts to create an incentive for them to deposit money regularly in that account by
contributing a certain amount, perhaps fifty cents, for every dollar they deposit. Or, if they
would like to contribute to a charitable organization that is important to them, you could
encourage them by providing a matching gift for every contribution they make. By helping
them reach these goals themselves instead of merely giving them all of the money needed
to achieve them, they will learn valuable lessons. You can further facilitate their success by
sharing life lessons you learned when you tried to achieve similar goals.
(2) Educate your mentee about a particular item that you plan for them to inherit one day.
For example, if you have a family cabin that you plan to pass on to your son and daughter,
document all of the steps needed to maintain it and create a schedule for who will fulfill
those chores on a regular basis. If you and your sibling have been in charge of taking care
of the cabin, you can share the knowledge and experience you have gained over the years
about the best ways to work together to care for the property. In addition to providing
information about the nuts and bolts of maintaining the cabin, you can share stories and
memories about your own experiences there to communicate why it means so much to you
and why you want them to have those same positive experiences in their lives.
(3) Teach your mentee about a skill you have developed and believe is important.
Perhaps your mother or father taught you important lessons about how to save money or
contribute to good causes. You can pass these same lessons on to the next generation as
well. If you learned money management skills that have enabled you to build a sizable
estate and allowed you to benefit your family and others, invest time in teaching those skills
to your younger loved ones. Similarly, if you have discovered methods for determining
whether a charity is being run responsibly and is a worthy organization for a donation, share
that knowledge with your mentee so they can make good decisions when they make their
own charitable contributions. Communicate to your mentee how these skills have had a
positive impact on your own life and the lives of others to reinforce their importance and why
it is important for them to gain the same skills.
Creative mentoring can provide a great opportunity for you to share more than just your money
and property with those you love: you can share your important values and the skills and
experiences gained as you have put them into practice. If you want to leave a lasting legacy for
your family and loved ones and need assistance creating or updating your estate plan, please
give us a call.
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