Justice Antonin Scalia held his seat on the United States Supreme Court for almost thirty years and was an integral force on American jurisprudence. He was an intellectual individual that challenged colleagues and legal advocates for decades through his constitutional beliefs and ideologies. Whether his conservative views were shared, the legacy he leaves behind after his untimely death will be cherished by his family, especially his 28 grandchildren, for his unwavering conviction and remaining steadfast in his beliefs.
Most of us will never be a Supreme Court justice, a Hollywood actor, or even known beyond our local community. However, we all have the ability to pass along a legacy to future generations to make a difference. When pondering the world’s remembrance of your life journey, think about how you want your legacy to say “I was here.” We all have different ways to show our legacies—it can be a grandiose and public gesture celebrated by thousands, or a simple and private bequest to your loved ones. No matter where it falls on the continuum, utilizing your past will benefit the lives of others and provide meaning to enrich the future.
Consider the following ways to leave a legacy: You may want to leave a bequest to an individual or charity, or directives to create something such as a scholarship fund or memory wall. Whether it is a dollar amount or a specific item, it will help reflect your values and it benefit others. Be sure to memorialize it through an estate plan as well, which a qualified estate planning attorney can help you complete. In addition, you may want to compile your family history and genealogy to link your loved ones to your past. Also, include the significance of holiday traditions, secret recipes, war stories or personal belongings. Just knowing the “why” behind things we collect and places we frequent will provide appreciation beyond the stuff left behind. Finally, a personal letter to your loved ones is often unparalleled in which you share life moments, future aspirations, and the appreciation of your relationship.
Life is unexpected. We may not know when our final day will arrive, but we can plan today to leave a legacy for tomorrow.
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