Planning for your pets with legacy giftsFeb 22, 2021 12:06PM ● By Anna Stout
The COVID pandemic has given us a lot of time to reflect on things that were not previously at the forefront. Things like planning for a lockdown, finding connection during isolation, and taking measures to avoid getting sick were definitely not things I anticipated contemplating when 2020 began.
One of the thoughts that’s been the most persistent is: What would happen if something were to happen to me? What if I get sick and have to go to the hospital? What if I can’t keep working? What if—God forbid—this kills me? Was I prepared for any of this? (The answer, of course, was no.)
These thoughts tumbled around in my head, especially early on. A friend suggested that the best way to reign in those thoughts was to evaluate what things I could control in those hypothetical situations.
So, I put plans in place for my pets, made an emergency succession plan at work, created a lockdown supply kit, committed important information to paper, and made other deliberate preparations for those worst-case scenarios. And it really helped. I couldn’t control things happening around me, but I could control how I prepared and how I was affected.
As I worked on this, one of the things that repeatedly came up was the concept of personal legacy. If the worst were to happen, did I have control over my legacy?
For each of us, the concept of our legacies means something different. For some, our children, family and communities are big factors. For others, our jobs, causes or volunteer work are driving factors. And while we may define our legacies differently, we all want to ensure they’re provided for and protected long after we’re gone.
The past year has been full of frequent reminders of our mortality and vulnerability. I’ve realized that the only control I have over what happens when I’m gone is what I put in place now. As I sat down to review my will and advance directives, beneficiaries and designees, and plans for my pets after I’m gone, I especially focused on how those plans reflected my values and my legacy.
I’ll admit, I didn’t fully understand what “legacy giving” was until I started at Roice-Hurst and saw the impact of gifts left by generous and forward-thinking people in their end-of-life plans. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the power of these gifts to continue caring for what matters to a person when they’re no longer here to do so. That’s the true meaning of legacy.
Many nonprofits like Roice-Hurst Humane Society have charitable endowment funds to support the causes that are important to you in perpetuity. Your contribution gives the organization a permanent source of funding while allowing you to leave a true legacy through your giving.
When I think about my personal legacy, I want to make sure the organizations and causes I’ve dedicated time to on Earth are part of it, and that those causes carry my legacy far beyond my memory.
For the past six decades, Roice-Hurst Humane Society served tens of thousands of cats and dogs and the people who love them. By remembering Roice-Hurst in your will or other estate planning, you can change the lives of our community’s pets for generations.
Consider joining me during Write-A-Will Month this March and ensure that your legacy is within your control.