#200 - Estate Planning
As we grow older we are told by experts to have an estate plan; a plan that would protect our assets, avoid unnecessary taxation, and allow for an orderly distribution to our heirs. Much time and money is spent developing a lengthy plan covering all situations, so that the fruits of our labor can be continued and enjoyed by others. In time, the estate will be passed on, disposable assets will wear out, and any monies will have long been spent. The plan we set forth is responsible and necessary; but in time it will be forgotten.
There is another part of the estate plan that will have a greater mpact and will influence generations to come. It’s the example we leave behind. People will remember us, not by the material possessions we leave behind, but by the life-long memories and impact we have had on their lives. The money one receives is valuable, but not more valuable than a person’s reputation. Money that is lost can be regained, but a person’s reputation, once damaged, may never be repaired. Leaving your heirs with the message that being a good person, the kind of person others can trust, will far outweigh material possessions.
The benefit of a good education is important, but not more important than one’s character development. Place less emphasis on the outcome and pay attention to the development. Be grounded in your beliefs while respecting those who differ with you. Leave your heirs with the message that you can criticize a person’s ideas without criticizing the person.
Most of us grew up in families that had very few material possessions and not much of an estate to pass on. However, as children, we inherited a lifetime of valuable lessons; lessons that we can pass on. This type of estate planning doesn’t stop with us but will be passed on for generations.
Bill Gray is the COO of the Arizona School of Real Estate & Business.