What is a Legacy? Part Four

Ian King, Friday October 11, 2013

Previous posts have started to consider the financial, emotional and experience aspects involved with a legacy. I would now also like to discuss a fourth and final dimension to any legacy – a legacy to a community.

The Family Legacy SolutionTM is clearly focussed towards delivering solutions within the family framework. However, the interaction between the family and indeed the family members, within their wider community also needs to be considered alongside those of the family unit.

Good causes

Charitable giving and philanthropy are often central to many people’s lives and it is often their wish for their contribution to continue after they have passed on.  My experience is, however, that the contribution people make both during their lifetime and on death is often very small. People can often do so much more, especially when the actual benefit to the recipient of their contribution is considered.

People are often motivated to contribute to good causes, for a wide number of reasons – even sometimes just to meet social norms, for example a couple of pounds in a charity collection box.  In many cases people naturally wish to focus their time, attention and financial resources towards their own personal needs and those of their family.  Many people do however wish to do more for their communities but yet seem unable to commit to further action.

Working within the community

If we look at the various aspects of working within the community, we could see how the willing are able to do more. Clearly, the financial aspect is often a key part of meeting your potential community obligations. However, we have to look at how we can achieve this – is this done on a regular basis or as a one-off lump sum payment? Are funds given widely to a number of projects or are they targeted to very specific opportunities? We also need to consider if the financial commitment occurs during your lifetime or if the provision is set to (or solely) be afforded after your passing.

Time, knowledge and expertise

The other key aspect to consider within a community contribution is the giving of your time, knowledge and expertise. Again though, do people act to leverage these resources to the full when working for the greater good? In so many cases, I see clients of mine, who having retired from work have both the time and willingness to commit towards their community and yet give their time in such a fashion that does not capitalise upon their own skills and experience. They often work in an in-effective  manner which they would have never tolerated during their working lives.

The effective combination of financial, time, knowledge and experience often gives the greatest contribution to the community. We frequently work with our clients to maximise their contribution to their community, whether this is to help them to provide greater financial impact, either during lifetime or following their passing or to give more structure to their lives and community work, such that their contribution is enhanced.

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