I think more and more about what my legacy will be. It began almost five years ago, when my husband suddenly died. I was thinking about HIS legacy, and how I could affect it.
These days I think more about what benefit I will leave the world for having crossed this way. Your legacy doesn’t have to be a “big” thing, it can be small, but still powerful. A legacy is something that 1) shows something about who you are and what’s important to you, 2) helps others in some way, 3) is how you’ll be remembered after you’re gone. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be a huge philanthropist, super rich, or famous. All you need is to have your heart in the right place and care.
If you have, or even if you haven’t, started to think about what your legacy is, here are some things for you to consider:
1. Decide what’s most important to you
Your legacy should reflect something personal you care about. Whether it’s where you went to school, who impacted your life, or what you believe in, your legacy should be a reflection of what is important to you.
2. Choose your beneficiaries
The beneficiaries of your legacy are organizations, groups, and causes that will receive support from you. It can be something you already contribute to like your church or the homeless, or it can be the school you attended, a hospital that took care of you, or the Girl or Boy Scouts you were involved with. Think back to your childhood and recall who had a positive impact on your life that could also have a positive impact on others if you support them.
3. Create the format
There are lots of ways to contribute and leave a legacy, from a small brick with your name on it as a contribution to the Pike Place Market or a bench in a public park. Certain organizations have fundraising opportunities where you can contribute and start creating your legacy for a small investment. Start watching for those opportunities and think about how to help organizations you’re involved with. Is it a scholarship you’re providing? A monetary contribution? A park bench, tree, or brick in the floor? Be creative!
4. Execute your plan
Is this going to be a gift while you’re alive or after you die or both? Decide how you want to give. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet just challenged billionaires to give away half of their wealth. Start planning for what you want and how you want to do it.
There are some legal arrangements you may need to make. See your lawyer about creating a new will or how best to carry out your plan, given your financial circumstances. You can also give non-financial gifts like donating your books, movies, TV’s, and CD’s or even a pool table or other furniture to a homeless shelter or senior center.
There are charitable funds you can start that work like “mini-foundations.” You receive a tax deduction for contributing, can name the account, and gift at your leisure and after your death. They are not widely advertised, but usually can be starting with around $10,000 as a minimum initial investment and have low ongoing fees. You don’t need a broker to buy one.
If you’re interested in attending the teleclass I’ll be offering on Creating Your Legacy with Your Own Mini-Foundation, sign up here: http://lindapjones.com/products/
5. Decided whether to communicate to recipients now
Some people like to let the organization they support know now that they are going to be a contributor, and some don’t. It’s up to you. In some cases, recipients need to approve of the donations. One club I know had to approve a gift of a painting by a member. There can be a formal process for some organizations to accept your gift if it’s not cash.
Whether you have or haven’t decided what to do to create your legacy, one way create an awesome legacy and give meaning to your life is to give life or sight to another person and be an organ donor. Thousands of people die unnecessarily each year awaiting organs. If you haven’t signed up to be a donor on your driver’s license, please sign up online at http://www.donatelifetoday.org. Saving someone’s life or sight is a phenomenal legacy that doesn’t cost you a dime!
To get started, click here: http://lindapjones.com/members-benefits/