I had a breakfast meeting this morning with Alli Joseph, creator of Seventh Generation Stories, who shared with me her vision as to the meaning of the word “legacy.” Customarily, in the financial professions and in the estate planning field, we generally think of “leaving a legacy” in financial terms, or otherwise with respect to property and inheritance. When used in this context we believe you should consider forming a domestic asset trust to protect your financial treasures.
A life insurance death benefit, for example, held in a dynasty trust or otherwise, can be used to fund education, or for a home purchase, or to build a business, etc., and can last for generations. But Alli Joseph considers the phrase legacy more broadly, to include a person’s oral and pictorial recollection of family, friends and events which have shaped their life. Seventh Generation Stories offers ‘personal historian services,’ and their projects range from collating someone’s old photographs, to a full production video and published volume which recalls a person’s entire lifetime.
Alli Joseph writes:
“Sometimes, we lose family members before their time and before their stories are told. Unlike material things, your family’s value to you never changes. They are our past, our present, our future.”
Family history projects are unique, emotional, and fun. What was it like when you were growing up? Where did you live? What were your parents like? Your room? Your home? What significant events were going on in the world at the time? How did you decide what to do for a living? What made you love it/hate it? Did you do community service work, or perhaps belong to a faith-based community? These are some of the questions we may ask you to consider, and the answers are ones only you can give; your memories are the gems your family will treasure for many generations to come.
Founder Alli Joseph or one of our skilled interviewers will then guide you through a conversational interview recorded on a digital audio device, if you’re doing a book or other print project, or on digital video, if we’re working on a video project. Interviews can run from two to twelve hours and can be completed over a period of days or weeks.
Alli Joseph lives near me in Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town, and so our circle of connections overlaps. Hopefully we’ll be able to converge our work for the community, and make the term ‘legacy’ mean a great deal more than dollars and cents.
Check out Seventh Generations Stories , and consider whether you can offer an additional value-added service to your clients by way of expanding on what it means to ‘leave a legacy’ to one’s children and grandchildren.
At the very least, consider a domestic asset protection trust to avoid the scrutiny that comes to bear on those who don’t:
The IRS announced the other day that they were willing to forgo criminal prosecution of US taxpayers who held (and failed to report and pay tax on) accounts held offshore. As reported by Thomson Reuters/IRS,
IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman has announced what is in effect a settlement offer for those that voluntarily and timely disclose unreported offshore income. Those meeting the terms of the offer will have to pay back-taxes and interest for six years, and pay either an accuracy or delinquency penalty on all six years. They will also pay a penalty of 20% of the amount in the foreign bank accounts in the year with the highest aggregate account or asset value. In other words, 20% of the highest asset value of an account anytime in the past six years. However, those who come forward on a timely basis will not face criminal prosecution.
Penalties and interest will be painful, no question about it. However it seems like a prudent move insofar as the Service has (or is in the process of) receiving data from foreign banks and financial institutions on US citizens which had been protected under foreign government secrecy laws when establishing offshore trusts and bank accounts.