This term I think means different things to different people!
For some “leaving a legacy” might mean that you hope the contributions you have made throughout your life will have a lasting impact. Or you might feel that your children are your legacy.
Others may associate leaving a legacy as a specific plan you put in place either before your death or after your death by directing how your estate is to be distributed.
Interestingly in a survey done by the legal website FindLaw.com 55.6% of American adults do not have a will! Likewise, in a totally different study it was stated that only 8% of households report leaving a charitable bequest in their wills! Clearly those that choose to leave something behind for charity appears to be small.
I have had frank conversations with various people over many years about the subject of death. For some the word itself i.e. death creates a panic and a realization of one’s own mortality.
Are you “past your prime”, whatever that might mean. How much time do we have left here on earth?
Honestly, I’m not sure if everyone has a built in drive wanting to make sure that they counted for something but it seems many do. Also, many would like to in some way ensure that our whole purpose for being was just that purposeful! In some ways this is the whole concept of leaving a legacy.
I was recently thinking what I felt might be a profound thought.
What if, the sole reason for someone’s life might be for one instant and only that instant. Granted it is hard for us to think that we might be designed for a single use moment, but I guess it is possible.
Moreover, I wonder about the goal of leaving a legacy. How many legacies have been lost to time? We are poor keepers of history aren’t we? We have to have a bronze plaque on our grave markers and buildings so we won’t forget the names and dates. Today, history seems to be only relevant for historians versus the modern man and so we never truly learn from our past and continue to repeat it.
I think as much as we might not like it we need to accept the fact that we will be forgotten; “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” I think with that in mind then a focus might be how you can effect change today versus hoping it will happen when you are not present to view it! Would you rather have a building in your honor or change a life today? Think about it, but not too long!
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.