Some people
wish to pass down more than just their material wealth to their surviving descendants.  They also wish to transfer their important
values, life experiences and family traditions.
All of which can help to shape the character and lifestyles of their
descendants.  Let us consider how such
goals can be accomplished.  

who value charitable giving and community involvement often want their descendants
likewise to become involved.  Naturally,
much of the outcome depends on how these younger generations are raised; what
values are instilled by example and what opportunities to participate are taken.  But when the older generation is no longer
around what else can be done to promote the children’s involvement after the
older generation has passed on?

          One possibility
is to leave money dedicated to paying a child or grandchild’s membership dues
in one or more charitable or service organizations.  Paying membership fees would certainly remove
a barrier to participation, provided the child/grandchild is otherwise
committed to participation. 

possibility, for those with more money, is to start a family run tax exempt private
foundation for specific charitable giving purposes.  While alive, the older generation can show
the younger generation how the foundation serves an important charitable purpose,
such as giving money to the performing arts.
That way when control is handed over to the younger generation they are
ready to assume leadership.

people may wish to preserve and convey their own unique personal life

example, one grandmother was videotaped sharing her experience as one of America’s
earliest female airplane pilots.  During
WWII, while her male counterparts were employed in the military, she flew
planes domestically to transport important packages.  Watching the video, you could see how lively she
was telling her very interesting and lively story about the particularly
harrowing flying experience when her plane ran short of fuel.  Thanks to her efforts her story will continue
for future generations to hear.

many families have longstanding family traditions, such as family reunions,
genealogy, and other leisure past times.
Why not involve the younger generation now in those activities to
establish something worthwhile that can continue into the next generation?

example, in the right circumstances, leaving a family home or hunting/fishing
cabin with great family significance in further trust — so that it cannot be
sold and remains available for the children and their families to share
vacations and family holidays — can further family get-togethers and bonding.  The trust would leave one person, at a time,
in charge and provide how the benefits and burdens are equitably shared by the
children and their families.

for families who are avid about particular past times, like hunting, sailing,
golfing photography, playing music and gardening, gifts related to such
endeavors, such as guns, boats, golf clubs, camera equipment, musical
instruments and gardening tools, as the case may be, can be very satisfying to
the right recipient. 

for some families, genealogy records and other artefacts are worthwhile to be
cataloged and passed on to an interested family recipient to preserve the
family legend for years to come. 

doubt, every family has some core values, life experiences and pastime pursuits
that are worth preserving for the next generation.  The end of the old year and the start of the coming
year offers us a good time to seriously consider the subject.  What do you want your legacy to be?

“Serving Lake and Mendocino Counties for nineteen years, the Law Office of Dennis Fordham focuses on legacy and estate planning, trust and probate administration, and special needs planning. We are here for you. 870 South Main Street Lakeport, California 95453-4801. Phone: 707-263-3235.”