Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Round Rock is getting a new museum. The Williamson Museum is opening a living history branch in a couple of historic buildings at 8 Chisholm Trail Road near Brushy Creek sometime in the next couple months. The museum will feature volunteers dressed in costume, portraying life as it was in Round Rock back in the 1870s. This museum will be a wonderful addition to our community because it will help us pass down an appreciation for history, and knowledge about the roots of our community, to the next generation.
In a way, every estate planning client I work with is sort of like a mini museum working to get off the ground. There is a person or a core group of people that want to pass on their knowledge, values, and assets to the next generation. But without a plan in place, things do not go smoothly.
In the case of the museum, Mickie Ross, the executive director of the Williamson Museum in Georgetown, said in an interview that opening a living history satellite campus on the Chisholm Trail had been a part of the museum’s strategic plan for a number of years, but it took years of fundraising to make that plan a reality.
It also takes a number of years for a good estate plan to really work. It is not something that only comes into play at the time of death. If a client with a substantial estate is serious about protecting as much of the estate as possible from taxes, a plan needs to be put in place years before death is anticipated. The biggest reason for this is that gifting plays a large role in many tax-avoidance plans, and there is a limit on how much can be gifted tax-free each year.
Preserving assets for future generations is important. Whether those assets are historic artifacts, or trust funds, a long-term outlook and a well-thought out plan are critical. It is far too risky to leave the legacy we want to pass on to the next generation up to chance.