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Leaving a Legacy

Who does not remember Aesop’s Fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper:

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “insteadwills and trusts | rosi & gardner pc of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “We have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger – while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need.

As we each approach the end of this year, like the ant – and not the grasshopper – many of us try to put way enough to last the winter. It is also a good time to think carefully about the extended future beyond merely the winter and put in place long term provisions for both family and the larger community, specifically Estate Planning: determining to whom a legacy should go.

Who does not look in the mirror each morning and say, here we go again? Yet one day, hopefully in the distant future, the opportunity to ask that question will not be available, taken from each of us at a time generally not of our choosing. When that happens, the impact of that
moment will affect the world around us – like a stone tossed into a pond – the ripples will affect friends, families, business acquaintances, and countless others.

Many of us have, over our lives, contributed to favorite entities, churches, charities, colleges and other worthwhile causes. Although our names are often included on lists of donors, we did not contribute so that our names would appear. We did so because we considered that support of the entities were important for the community, and indeed, the world at large. If important during our lives, the importance would continue after we are gone.

Estate planning usually focuses upon passing family assets, your legacy, to the next generation, often the most important family consideration. Planning, however, should not ignore the lifelong interests that each of us supported. The fact that we may no longer be here to help does not mean that those interests will be able to carry on without help.

Like the ant, let us consider the bigger long term picture and help, each in our individual and often small way, to create legacies that will live on. To make sure your estate goes to the people and organizations you want why not schedule an appointment to talk about estate planning today. Call us at 231­709­4895, today, to make an appointment.

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