How Does the Family Story Continue?

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How Does the Family Story Continue?

How Does the Family Story Continue?

Transitions and Legacies:
How Does the Family Story Continue?

Source: Apartment News Magazine
by Timothy Gorman

Real Estate Broker/CPA/Entrepreneur

A little over five years ago, I introduced the concept of legacy planning in an article entitled The Legacy Myth: A Continuation of the Family Story (Apartment News Magazine, March 2018 issue).

This article was based upon my 2017 Legacy Planning & Your Real Estate Assets guide that inspired the Passing the Torch workshop presented by the Apartment Association of Orange County. The AAOC has continued to offer this family succession seminar, most recently on June 8 of this year.

The first of a four-part series, this article outlined the legacy planning process and included an infographic that reinforced the ongoing, cyclical nature of this undertaking:

Your Wishes & Goals – What does leaving a legacy mean to you? How do you make sure that your wishes can be fulfilled?

Property Considerations – Can your property operate without you? Are there maintenance or other deferred liabilities.

Tax Concerns – Will probate or other taxes force a sale? Have you done everything possible to minimize taxes?

The Legalities – Are your will and trust up to date? Are you holding title in the most beneficial manner?

As noted in that 2018 article, the process begins with identifying how you want to be remembered, and then formulating the means to create the impact you want to make – both during your lifetime and afterward.

The objective is to develop a solid foundation for the future that you hope will evolve. At the same time, you need to secure your assets to ensure the continued availability of the resources required by the legacy you envision.

Input and assistance will come from many different sources – your tax attorney, CPA, investment broker, and real estate advisor, as well as your heirs, spouse and, most importantly, yourself.

Five years ago, my understanding was derived not just from personal experience, but from research, serving on the AAOC Board of Directors, and working with WR Gorman & Associates clients. As a CPA and entrepreneur, I learned how to run the numbers, look at all the options and make informed decisions. I continued using that same approach when I became a real estate broker and started working with my father, Bill Gorman, in 2010.

So how well does all of this advice work?

Sadly, I am in a position to know and evaluate the outcome of this process on a very personal level. At 87, my father passed away, and on May 10, I took over the responsibility of putting his plan into action as the executor and trustee of his large and complex estate.

Although it is too early to know for a certainty, we apparently did a fantastic job of structuring my father’s estate in terms of taxes, assessments and a smooth transfer of the legalities. However, all of us failed to account for the more personal details surrounding the passing of a loved one. We also could have done a better job setting expectations regarding the timeline and the actions to be taken by both the executor and the family.

As a tribute to my father, who was as much a teacher and a mentor as a real estate broker, we have started putting together what might be called Legacy Planning 2.0.

The revisions of the existing guide will focus on resources and ways to facilitate the transition process as overseen by the executor. Also, on a more personal level, attention will be given to how best for everyone to initiate those hard conversations and provide, in advance, those clarifying details that go into how you want to be honored and remembered.

Putting together the right estate plan and trust structure is just the first step in creating a legacy. Providing the information needed to help the family navigate the interpersonal dynamics and the transition offers, perhaps, the more challenging task.

Timothy Gorman is a licensed Real Estate Broker, Certified Public Accountant (inactive), small business owner, and avid entrepreneur. Beginning his career as a financial auditor with KPMG, he held several high-level positions in marketing and finance before joining his father at WR Gorman & Associates in 2010.

Founded in 1972 by William (Bill) R. Gorman, this Brea-(CA)-based firm focuses on personalized wealth building through real estate. With a client-first philosophy, the firm serves as an expert resource for informed decision-making and transitioning to creates sustainable legacies for investors and their heirs.