Typically, the word “legacy” can simply be thought of as an inheritance of money or property that is being passed on to someone’s children or grandchildren. When thinking about your “legacy,” focus also on shared values, worldviews, and family experiences. Devote more attention to transmitting your heritage than leaving an inheritance.
Communication is Key.
Society may lament how unprepared the next generation is for some situations, but how faithful have the older generations been at preparing them to resolve issues in a responsible way? Have the important discussion with your children about what needs to be accomplished during estate planning, but also discuss your heritage of beliefs and values. These discussions will increase the likelihood of a successful estate transition—preserving harmony within family and optimizing the long-term benefit of physical property.
A Matter of Trust.
Think of someone you trust. Would you want that person to have the courage to initiate a discussion with you about an issue, even if it might be contentious? Most likely, your trust in that person would supersede the troubling aspect of the discussion and can be a huge factor in helping navigate through typical relationship challenges. If that trust hasn’t been established, creating it now can be difficult, but it can be done. Humble yourself, admit mistakes, and ask for patience and understanding from family. Tell them your priority is to do what is best for them and commit yourself fully to that course of action. Disagreements may still occur but work through those issues with humility.
Equality is impossible when it comes to the distribution of physical property, but having a mindset that demonstrates equal love goes together with a trusting relationship. Family members might all have different situations and needs. Distributions may appear unequal in superficial ways, but an equal love approach can lead to the best, most peaceful results. Equal love that is trustworthy from a parent or a grandparent says: Regardless of what happens, I will act in the best interest of each and every one of my children and grandchildren.
A trustworthy foundation allows transmission of values and a heritage that will strengthen the family. Families operating from that foundation affirm equal love, even during disagreement, and the process promotes communication and increases trust rather than separation and distrust. Grandparents, keep communicating with your children and grandchildren! You possess a narrative about your spiritual, physical, and moral legacy that your grandchildren want to know.
Thank you, Grant Goodvin, at grandkidsmatter.org for this content!