“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remain and is immortal.” Albert Pine
I often hear the term Legacy Planning. Some think it is planning for and accumulating a substantial amount of money to leave behind. Others say it is planning to avoid as many taxes as possible or to leave money to charity.
I think it is more than that. I think legacy planning is a process to determine what you want your legacy to be, then utilize your time, talent, and resources to make a lasting impression.
As part of my legacy, I want to ensure my family knows how much I love them. I want to provide for my family in time of crisis. I want to shield my family from heart-wrenching decisions. I want to take as much of death’s sting as I can by planning my own funeral and obituary so they don’t have to when they are grieving. I want to give direction to my young son on how to manage money. I want to show him that giving back to God is important.
For me, what I leave behind doesn’t matter as much to me as how I leave things behind.
I often think of a client of mine in her 70’s. She had been married more than 50 years when her beloved groom passed away. She was crying in my office one day—telling me how angry she was at her husband. “He promised he was going to take care of me,” she said. But he didn’t. He left her with a very messy probate that could have been avoided if he had only taken the time.
What a sad legacy to leave. Not one of a loving, protective husband but rather someone who didn’t utilize his time, talent, and resources to make a lasting love impression on his family.
What will your legacy be?
“What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance. Man wants to know that his life has somehow counted, if not for himself, then at least for a larger scheme of things, that it has left a trace, a trace that has meaning.” Ernest Becker