Live each day well.
Author Annie Dillard once said, "How we spend our days is... how we live our lives."
A critical step in designing a really positive legacy starts with the commitment to live each day well.
This sets the example for the next generation and improves the likelihood that your legacy will be remembered - the way you want to be remembered.
Beyond your effort to live each day well, leaving a positive legacy also involves planning.
Here are the basics to creating an intelligent legacy plan so you can be remembered positively and help your family avoid a bad outcome...
- Organize your important documents into one simple consolidated place (fireproof safes are ideal for this)
- Review/update your living trust (or create a trust if you don't already have one)
- Review your will
- Review your advanced health care directive
- Review your power of attorney
- Review your account's beneficiaries and how each account is titled
- Review your life insurance policies
- Review your buy/sell agreements (if you're a business owner)
If you're not 100% certain that you can complete the above on your own, an experienced professional like an estate planning attorney or financial advisor can help.
Share your story.
Share your story with your family/friends/organizations who will benefit from your estate. Sharing your story can go a long way in helping the next generation honor you and carry your legacy forward. So to help you "get-the-ball-rolling", below is quick bullet-point list of topics to consider starting with...
- Your life lessons
- Your spiritual beliefs
- Your philanthropic goals
- Your vocational passion (often important for business owners who want their own children to take over)
- Your final wishes
The list can easily go on. The important thing is to start openly communicating about the things that matter to you.
Effective methods for sharing your story.
The mode of communicating your story is completely up to you. Maybe you send out a handwritten letter, or maybe you create a collage of photographs; maybe you record a video, or you sit down with everyone around a campfire. Either way, the important thing is that you start sharing your story now so can ensure you are heard and understood.
To quickly summarize...
Remember each day counts, get organized, and start sharing your story now. That way you can be remembered (positively) and create a legacy you can feel good about.