A legacy is something a person leaves behind that reminds others of their existence.
It could be in a tangible form such as a house or money, or an intangible form, such as works of art, or intellectual property. Each type of legacy comes with its own challenges but it doesn’t have to be a big gesture. Grand does not always equate to meaningful. Your legacy could be simply the memories you leave in the lives of those you have touched.
Why is it important to leave a legacy?
It brings awareness to the finite timing of life.
Everything in this life is temporary because life itself is temporary. Working on your legacy makes this reality clear.
It brings perspective on what’s important.
It can be easy to take what’s important for granted, relationships with loved ones, your health, the roof over your head. Having a perspective on what’s important helps you feel gratitude for what you have.
It can be a motivator to create the life you want.
Your legacy is your end goal. It is how you will be remembered. Knowing that you are in the process of creating your ‘thank you’ to life can be motivating.
You are remembered as adding value during your lifetime.
Knowing that you left your mark on the world and it is a better place because you existed, is powerful.
Your loved ones are cared for when you are gone.
Life can be challenging but you can give your loved ones a brighter start by providing the resources for them to weather the storms of their lives.
You give others a chance in life.
Your loved ones are not the only ones who deserve every chance life can offer. In the world, there is always someone in need. When leaving your legacy, other common choices include relatives as they may have a great impact on your life; friends and community because sometimes they are closer and more supportive than family; charities and global institutions such as universities or hospitals could also be on your list.
The value of leaving a legacy may be obvious but what is not as obvious are the factors you need to consider to protect your life’s work. Whether your legacy is for family, friends, community, charity, or some other entity, you should seek professional advice to avoid making mistakes that could jeopardise your gift.
Life can be complicated and leaving a legacy is no different. It can be a minefield of rules, a mountain of paperwork, and a maze of regulations. It is important to get proper advice as the rules are different for each country, or even each district within a single country.
Knowing where to go for impartial advice can be the first step. Do your research and also consider these options:
Governmental services example your Citizens Advice Bureau can be a good way to obtain free or relatively inexpensive advice about the details in your legacy.
Use legal services to understand your country’s laws and regulations on what is permissible for both the tangible and intangible assets in your legacy.
Use financial services to understand the cost of leaving your legacy behind. For example, leaving an inheritance to your loved ones may incur heavy inheritance taxes and other hidden costs.
Another important factor to ensure your wishes are honoured is to have BOTH a Will and Power Of Attorney (POA), regardless of your adult age, income, social status, or legacy intentions.
A Will is the main way to ensure your wishes are met after your death. Use it to communicate how, when, and to whom you would like to leave your legacy to.
A Power Of Attorney is one of the only ways to ensure your wishes are met when you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself, but you are still alive. You can decide at which point the Power Of Attorney becomes active so you don’t lose control over your decisions.
You may be able to use a general Power Of Attorney or need different Power Of Attorneys for different areas of your life, for example, one for health and a separate one for your finances.
Also, be mindful of the impact of specific forms within other plans you own. This is overlooked by many people, for example, beneficiary forms for a retirement portfolio may supersede the intentions set out in your Will.
Want to know the important factors you must consider when leaving your legacy behind? Whether your legacy is tangible or intangible assets; whether your gifts are for loved ones, relatives, friends, community or some other entity; do you know how to protect your life’s work? This video will give you what you must know to ensure your wishes are met, exactly the way you want.
There may be many things to consider but remember, your true legacy is not necessarily the big philanthropical moments, it could be as simple as how you live your life each and every day.
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The Institute for Achievement and Excellence ©