We tend to think of our legacy as the assets and inheritance we leave to our heirs. Is that how you want to be remembered? Do you want your grandchildren to say, “Look at this great car I bought with Grandpa’s inheritance,” or “This is the house my grandfather left to me?”
Or, would you rather they say something like, “My grandpa taught me to be kind.” “My grandma taught me how to love unconditionally?” “My father was the most faith-filled person I know.”
If you chose the latter, you’re not alone. In his book, “30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,” Karl Pillemer interviewed more than 1,200 people, most ages 70 and up, and said most saw transmitting their values and core principles as their most important legacy.
Our heirs prefer shared values over material items too. Janet Zinke, Senior Development Officer at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, said, “When we lose someone we love, it is not the material things that give us comfort, but the memories of our relationship and the time we spent together.”
As you consider the legacy you want to leave, consider these thoughts:
- We pass on our moral code and values by example. When our children are small, we demonstrate our values by how we treat them and the world around them. You don’t have to stop leading by example when your children are adults. Consider telling your children how church, charity, and volunteering are part of your life. Do they know the charities and ministries you support? Do they know any wishes you have for leaving money to charity in your will or estate plan?
- Taking care of our family goes far beyond the years they live with us. Provide a legacy of caring for your children by taking care of matters that affect them. Getting your affairs in order will ease the burden of your passing.
- If you believe God is the rightful owner of everything you’ve been given, it changes how you invest and spend. Are you using your energies and finances to impact lives? When you leave a gift in your will to a ministry like Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, you are impacting generations of children and families.
October 21-27, 2019 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Spend time this week thinking about how you can transfer your values and impact lives. Now is the time to solidify your plans—while you still have time to pass your values onto your children.
If you have any questions, please contact your financial planner or attorney. Or call Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch at 1-800-344-0957 and ask to speak with one of our Development Officers. They can guide and assist you in making decisions that are right for you and your family.