John Ruskin, a 19th century critic and architect, once wrote: “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work, as our descendants will thank us for and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when…they will say, as they look upon the labor and the rock substance of them: ‘See that is what our father and mother did for us.’”
Ruskin understands that when we build, we don’t just build for the present and we don’t just build for ourselves. We build for the future; we build for those who come after us. We can look at estate planning in a similar way.
We work to make money, and we make money to save and invest so we can accumulate assets and provide the things we want and need. But what do we want our money, investments, and assets to achieve after we pass?
This is a much different question than “what do I want to leave for my family?” or “how much do I want to donate to a charity?” It’s the difference between wanting to leave $10,000 to a grandchild and wanting to help pay for that grandchild’s college tuition. The question gets to the heart of legacy planning and asks: “what effect do you want your legacy to have?”
Asking yourself this question can help you set estate planning goals and make decisions for your will or Revocable Living Trust. Viewing your estate as a tool to accomplish goals instead of something to divvy up can give you a better idea of how to use, grow, and pass along your investments and assets.
We believe estate planning isn’t about the things you own: it’s about supporting the people in your life and the causes you believe in. It’s about building for the future and leaving a lasting legacy.
So let us know: what do you want your legacy to be? What effect do you want it to have?