Estate Planning: A Family Tradition Since 1917


The Apollis Legacy: Estate Planning Is in Our DNA

While LifeLegacy is at the forefront of modernizing estate planning, our roots show that we have been part of an “estate planning tradition”.  My great, great, great grandfather Apollis (born in 1830) was a man ahead of his time. He was a Union infantry soldier and served in The Civil War.  He lost an arm in the Third Battle of Winchester in 1864, but that never stopped him from taking care of his family. With his remaining arm he wrote an estate plan that took care of his family members for generations to come. 

Yes, you read that correctly…one arm! Our running family (and work) joke is that if Apollis could write his will with one arm in 1917, we can write ours with two arms and the technology today.

As you might already be able to tell, estate planning flows through our veins! We’ve witnessed the incredible benefits of having a solid plan in place. From 1917 to today, Apollis’ legacy lives on in myself and my brothers Jordan and Austin, proving that a little foresight can make a world of difference in a family’s future.

A Glimpse into Apollis’ Last Will & Testament

Apollis’ will is a fascinating window into his thoughtful nature. He left his beloved wife, Mary, their cherished home, along with personal treasures like two stoves, a pipe, and some fine silverware. The parlor’s contents, filled with precious family memories, were also hers to keep. And let’s not forget the cash “stash” at New Milford Bank—$1,515.95, or $45,146 in today’s money!

Apollis’ careful planning set a precedent in our family, showing the lasting value of a well-crafted estate plan. Unfortunately, no, I haven’t seen a penny of that cash, but his legacy of careful planning inspired us to create LifeLegacy!

The Evolution of Estate Planning in the U.S.

Estate planning in the U.S. has an intriguing backstory. It all started with the Stamp Act of 1797, an estate tax introduced to fund the Navy during tense times with France. Although it was repealed in 1802, it reappeared during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The estate tax, as we know it today, was officially established in 1916 to support World War I.

The gift tax was enacted in 1924 to curb tax evasion through gifts, and by 1976, both taxes were merged into one. The estate tax exemption has dramatically risen—from $50,000 in 1916 to $11.7 million today. This history shows how estate planning constantly evolves, reflecting the nation’s changing needs and economic policies.

LifeLegacy: Modernizing Estate Planning

At LifeLegacy, we’re revolutionizing estate planning, making it affordable, accessible, and convenient for everyone. We believe that estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy or the elderly; it’s a powerful tool for all, regardless of age, wealth, or health. Our technology allows us to provide easy and affordable estate planning services, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to protect their legacy.

The Importance of Planning

A staggering 68% of Americans don’t have an estate plan. Given that death is the largest financial event in our lives, this is a significant issue. Without a will, probate can consume 3% to 7% of an estate’s value, depending on various factors. Thanks to Apollis’ example, our family has always been prepared. At LifeLegacy, we want to make this preparedness a standard for all families. Everyone deserves the peace of mind that comes with a well-crafted estate plan, and we’re dedicated to bridging that gap.

A Family of Planners

Family history can reveal a lot about all of us. Appollis created our identity as a family of planners. At LifeLegacy, we honor his example and strive to make estate planning common practice for all families, carrying forward Apollis’ legacy. By ensuring everyone has access to affordable and comprehensive estate planning, we honor our past while shaping the future.

Join us in making estate planning a universal practice. After all, it’s not just about what you leave behind but how you prepare for the future. And I’d like to think that we make the process much easier than my great, great, great grandfather writing his will with one arm!

Let’s make estate planning a part of your family’s story, just as it has been for ours.

Author: Spencer Cassidy

Author: Spencer Cassidy

Co-Founder & CEO


When Donors Die, Don’t Let Their Impact Die Too: How Planned Giving Can Continue Their Legacy

Nonprofit organizations rely heavily on the generosity of current donors to support their mission. But what happens when a donor passes away? Does their contribution stop? For many organizations, the answer is yes. To address this issue, nonprofits can leverage existing donor relationships and encourage these committed donors to leave a lasting legacy through planned giving vehicles such as wills and beneficiary designations. By fostering planned giving, nonprofits can secure future support, ensuring that their donors can continue to support the nonprofit’s mission even after they die.

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