Cultivating a family legacy is not that different from tending a garden: land with poor prospects, at first glance, has to be coaxed over time -patiently and carefully-until it has a fertile life of its own.

What is a “Legacy”? That can be hard to define with any certainty. We kind of know it when we see it.

There are those monuments, those legends, and those gifts about which there is no question. Whether it is in the name of a particular family or a community, it is unquestionably a legacy. So it is with a garden created roughly a century ago by members of the Morris family in Pennsylvania.

For those with high ambitions to leave a legacy, consider a recent meditation in the form of a Barron’s Penta article titled “A Lesson in Family Legacy.” It is the story of that Morris family garden.

The garden is no patch of soil, either at its start or in the present day. No, it is the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, a famous landmark still giving to the public and the University. However, it was not always that way, nor was it as pretty as the article describes. In fact, the Morris family of Pennsylvania, namely siblings John and Lydia Morris, raised the garden from the soil and left their name in place long after their own passing or the passing of their house through the form of an endowment.

While not every garden can be a monument, or every gift a legacy, it does require a unique perspective when it comes to coordinating your assets, goals and values.

What will be your legacy?

For more information, please visit my estate planning website.

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