When it comes to estate planning, people generally think about death or taxes.  But what people don’t realize is how an Orange County wills and trust attorney can help you develop the legacy you wish to leave behind.

In an age when people are becoming more introspective and choosing to live their ideals, it is comforting and even exciting to know that you can help people with your material wealth, even after you are gone.

But beyond donating money to a good cause, leaving a legacy is also about knowing that your life had an impact on the people and organizations that matter to you the most.

Children, grandchildren, and other loved ones will be able to see your example of grace and generosity.  They will remember your actions with pride and will hopefully follow in your footsteps to support your cause….or to take up one of their own.

To me, this is the true meaning of a “legacy,” and it’s a goal that people from all walks of life and financial backgrounds can attain.

Now while a skilled Orange County estate planning lawyer will be able to help with the details, creating a fitting legacy certainly begins with you.

The first step is to take a look at your own values and interests.  What are you passionate about and why?  Perhaps you are an animal lover or a cancer survivor….or even a bicycle enthusiast.  The most important aspect of creating a legacy is choosing a cause that really speaks to your heart.

Next, you’ll want to think about what you could leave behind to benefit such a charity or organization.

Keep in mind that while your contribution may not be enough to find a cure for a disease or eradicate animal cruelty, by simply homing in on your cause and getting clear on your desires, you can find ways to make a significant impact.

Maybe in your case, you have enough material wealth to donate a piece of cutting-edge medical equipment to your hospital’s oncology department.  Or perhaps your wealth will allow you to pay for new infrastructure to support the expansion and growth of your favorite cause.

On the other hand, maybe you only have the means to leave a small contribution.  It doesn’t make the sentiment any less gracious.   For example, offsetting the cost of adoption for a few animals at the local shelter may not seem like a “grand gesture,” but for the families and pets involved, it will mean the world.

If you are an enthusiast or collector, think about how your physical assets could be left behind to benefit others.  Can you contribute your prized art collection to a museum or donate your bike collection to a nonprofit that provides them to low-income children?

It doesn’t have to be all about money.  Instead, it’s about preserving part of your spirit and passion in ways that you are able to.  It’s about knowing that you’ve done something important with your life.  It’s also about being someone that future generations will remember with pride and respect, while at the same time inspiring them to create legacies of their own.

So if you’re ready to start laying the legal framework to leave behind a legacy that will last for generations, then be sure to give our Orange County wills and trusts office a call at  (949) 260-1400 and ask if you qualify for a Family Wealth Planning Session. These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in absolutely free with the mention of this article.