When you think of writing your legal will, you probably think of meeting with an estate attorney to draft your last will and testament. These legal documents specify, among other things, your plans to leave the assets you’ve accumulated over your lifetime (e.g., monetary assets or real estate) to your loved ones. Additionally, a legal will may also include your plans to make charitable gifts to specific charities or organizations in the community. In short, a legal will is about leaving your valuables to those persons or organizations you’ve cared about during your lifetime.
But how do you make these decisions?
“Notice that the word valuables begins with the word value,” says CCF Director of Partner Relations Bill Marsella. “In order to be truly prepared to write your legal will, you must first know and recognize what exactly it is that you value or have valued during your lifetime. You need to be in touch with your values.”
Here’s how. Write a legacy letter, also referred to as an ethical will, to your loved ones. What’s a legacy letter? The concept goes back several thousand years in the Bible to the prophet Jacob who, when he was on his deathbed, called his twelve sons to ‘bless them and leave them his prophecies’. Thousands of years later, what was once an oral Judaic tradition has evolved to a written tradition in modern times.
A legacy letter or ethical will is nothing more than putting on paper what you want the next generation to remember about your life. Using the sacred stories of your life to leave to the people you care about your love, your life’s lessons, your wisdom, and most of all, your values.
For more assistance with the planning of your charitable legacy, please give us a call at 651.389.0300. We’re happy to visit by telephone or schedule a time to meet in person.