Legacy Guide allows you to easily organize the settlement of your estate and preserve your Life Story.
We designed Legacy Guide as an easy to use organizational tool to help make your estate settlement easy. While it does not replace the need to have up-to-date estate planning documents in place, your estate planning team and loved ones will thank you for providing them the guidance needed for a seamless estate settlement.
You start by entering your information and information about the people who are important to you. We then help you organize your assets and designate how you want to handle gifts and inheritance.
There is more information on the Estate Planning Basics page, but we make it easy to understand. We provide areas for you to upload and store your important Documents, including the estate planning Documents that will control how your estate is settled.
As life events come to mind, or you come a across a photograph that has meaning to you, or you want to preserve an important message to deliver to a friend or family member, you can quickly and easily make an entry in the Life Story section. Before long, your Life Story will emerge.
Navigation through Legacy Guide is intuitive; you step through each menu item and complete the tasks shown. You can always go back if you have missed something.
Legacy Guide Interface
The top menu bar takes you to information about Legacy Guide that is helpful if you are unsure how to do something in the program or need to learn more about estate planning. When accessing these pages once you are logged in, it is most convenient to use click the Back button at the top of our browser window to return to the previous screen you used.. You can also get back into the Logged in section by clicking on Log-in and clicking on the login link. Depending on how long you have been away, you may have to enter your user name and password again.
Once logged in, you navigate throughout Legacy Guide using the Program Menu. Legacy Guide has been optimized to display on the most common screen size. Depending on your computer, you may want to change your display size by holding down your Ctrl key and pressing the + or – key.
A short description of each program menu option follows below.
Program Menu Options
This section is information about you. This is where you can change your password and update your contact information.
This section is where you enter people important to you. At a minimum you should enter everyone who will receive something from your estate. You also include entities in the My People section, such as charities, that you want to leave something to. If you are leaving any thing in trust, the Trust should also be entered in the My People section.
You can enter as many people as you would like in the My People section, regardless of whether they will receive anything from your estate. You can specify whether each person will receive notification when you have passed as well as, if specified, a copy of your Life Story. There is also a section for you to enter a final letter for each person so you can explain to them what they have meant to you as well as to leave them with any words of advice or encouragement.
My Assets, Liabilities, and Cash Flows
This is the section where you list all your valuable possessions: Financial Accounts, Real Estate, Vehicles, Art/Collectibles, Furniture, Pets – you name it – anything of value to you. This section is also where you specify who should receive the assets from the people who you entered in the My People section.
In this section you also include any liabilities you may have, such as Mortgages and Vehicle loans. Also important in this section is information about your Income and Expenses. Some income sources will need to be notified when you pass. Your settler will also need to know what expenses will need to be paid (property taxes, casualty insurance, utilities, etc.) while other expense that will need to be stopped (heath insurance premiums, membership dues, etc.). The more information you include, the easier it will be for your settler and loved ones to settler your estate.
It is important for you to understand the various types of estate transfer methods before specifying who will receive your assets. Please review the Transfer Methods section of Estate Planning Basics before completing this important section. Having the Transfer Methods entered correctly is necessary for your settler to be provided accurate instructions.
You should include here the estate planning documents that will actually control the settling of of your estate. Your main documents should be a Will and/or a Living Trust. You should also have Medical and Durable Powers of Attorneys prepared to make sure you can receive the help you need as you get older.
You can also include documents here related your Assets, Liabilities, and Cash Flows such as account statements. These documents will help your settler have the information needed to settle your estate.
Other important documents, such as birth certificates, diplomas, marriage licences – really anything that you would like to maintain an electronic record of – can also be uploaded.
My Settler(s) - This is either your Executor or your Trustee
Your Settler is the person you have chosen to settle your estate, also known as an Executor or Successor Trustee. You can have more than one, either in a Primary or Contingent capacity. A Settler has the same access that you have and can make changes. Settlers also have some tools needed only to settle the estate, such as the ability to enter additional notes for assets and to check assets off when re-titled.
You select your Settler from either an existing Settler (one who already has log in credentials with Legacy Guide) or from your My People list. Once your selection has been made, an email will be automatically generated to the Settler informing them you have given them the responsibility to settle your estate.
Your Settler is the most important person in the estate settlement process. Once a person has passed away, the Settler will notify Legacy Guide. After verification, Legacy Guide will send out notification emails to everyone you have entered in the My People section who has a valid email address. These emails, based on your instructions, may include a copy of your Life Story and/or a Final Letter to the person.
The Settler, with the Estate Settlement Instructions and other Legacy Guide reports to guide them, can then begin the Process of Settling your estate.
My Team Members
A team member is someone to whom you have given read-only access to your site. Team Members can view your information but they cannot make any changes. You have the ability to restrict access for each Team Member. You can specify whether they can access information about your People, your Assets, and your Documents. All Team Members have access to your Life Story.
My Life Story
This is the section most people enjoy the most. Your legacy involves not only your assets that you leave to your heirs, but also your experiences and values. To make it fun and easy to build your Life Story, this section is organized around photographs. You are able to upload a photo and enter a date and some descriptive text. As you upload cherished photos, and describe the circumstances around them, your Life Story will emerge. This Life Story can be passed down to anyone you specify, either as a PDF file, or if they choose, they can set up their own Legacy Guide account and we will transfer your Life Story data to them and they can pick up were you left off. What a gift to give your loved ones!
My Legacy Guide Advisor
This section gives you contact information for your Legacy Guide Advisor. Your Legacy Guide Advisor is the professional (Attorney, Financial Advisor, etc.) who granted you access to Legacy Guide. If you received your access directly from Legacy Guide, and are not using a Legacy Guide Advisor, this will be company contact information for Legacy Guide. If, at any time, you would like to work with a Legacy Guide Advisor for some additional help, we would be happy to introduce you to an Advisor in our network.
The reports section provides the information your settler will need to settle your estate. These reports include:
- Estate Balance Sheet – This report lists all of your Assets and Liabilities as well who the heirs are.
- Estate Distribution to Heirs – Similar to the Estate Balance Sheet but sorted by heir.
- Estate Settlement Instructions – This is the most important report. If your Legacy Guide is set up properly, this report, along with your estate planning documents, will give your Settler everything he or she needs to settle your estate efficiently.
- Personal Property Memorandum – Many states allow this document as an attachment to your will. This document can be changed at any time based on your directions regarding who will inherit your personal assets.
- Living Trust Schedule A – This is similar to the Personal Property Memorandum. It lists your personal assets and who should receive them.
- My Life Story – Allows you to print a copy of your Life Story, or generate a PDF that can be transmitted.
All of these documents create PDF files that can be printed, saved, or transmitted. Some of them also allow you to save them in XML or CSV formats. Settlers have access to an additional report, the Estate Inventory, that can be produced as soon as the assets have been accurately valued.
This exits you out of our secure system and takes you back to the home page. To further protect your privacy, you will be automatically logged out if you have had no activity for 30 minutes.
Legacy Guide Quickstart
Legacy Guide is very intuitive to use. In order to provide a help along the way, the right pane of all screens gives you detailed information on how to enter the needed data. Pay special attention to the stop sign shown on some pages. This is highly important information. Most help panes also includes a short video further explaining the current function.
Data Entry Area
Clicking on any of the Program menu bars opens that section. Clicking on it again closes it. You can click directly on another menu bar and the current section will close and the new one will open; make sure you have submitted your work before closing a section.
If you are ready to get started with Legacy Guide, contact your advisor to find out if they are a subscriber to Legacy Guide and can grant you access. If your advisor is not a subscriber, you can contact us for a list of advisors in you area. If you prefer to go it alone, you can try Legacy Guide by registering for a free 30-day trial. At the end of 30 days, we can either bill you $75.00 per year or, again, introduce you to an advisor in your area that is a subscriber. If your advisor is not a subscriber, send us an email with his or her contact information and we will contact them to see if they want to join the many advisors who have found Legacy Guide to be a vital tool for their clients.