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3 steps to defining your legacy

I was at the park with some friends, and one friend asked me what I wanted to leave behind to my kids and their kids.

People have a hard time thinking about this because it means thinking about their own mortality. The truth is, we all want to leave more than money, a house, or a car to our families. We want to make sure that we leave an indelible legacy.

We want to make sure that we leave behind core values that really outlive us.

But leaving a true legacy requires some careful thinking.

You see, I have always tried to live life by example for the people around me. I have always worked hard to spread acts of kindness, love and respect without preaching lessons about kindness, love and respect. I volunteer. I give to charities.

I try to live by show, not tell.

But to leave a legacy, we first need to define what we want our legacy to be. And that means having some conversations as a family.

1. What matters most to you?

The first step to creating a legacy is to really define your values as a family. Having this kind of conversation can be difficult so I recommend beginning with a few thought starters on an evening specifically designed for this conversation. (Read: This isn’t a “by the way” chat or a throwaway at the end of a phone call. Sit down and really talk.)

A. What’s something we do that makes you proud?

B. What is your happy place?

C. What do you hope future generations remember about us?

D. If we could change anything about the world, what would it be?

Defining what matters most can be challenging so don’t expect to have it solved in an evening. But getting the conversation started is critical.

2. Who do you want to impact?

After you have defined your values and determined what matters most, the next step is defining who you want to affect.

For example, I had a friend who determined with his family that the ocean mattered most to him. He had spent his life at the shore and happiness was tied to thoughts of his family sitting on the beach together.

Together, we started to look at issues around beach erosion and plastic waste in the ocean and how he could build a legacy by giving to charities that work to clean the oceans.

But for him that wasn’t enough. His family began to volunteer locally with the organization so that his children realized that legacy was more than philanthropy.

3. How can you actively accomplish this?

All of this can seem overwhelming, but the truth is we are all in this together.

Defining your legacy is the first step in a greater journey. Together we will create an estate plan so that your family can continue your legacy for generations.

Let’s strive to ensure that you leave a truly indelible mark on your family, your community and your planet.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

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