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Paying it Forward

Think back to a time you gave a special gift to someone, or participated in a service project that brought you true joy. Chances are this memory brings a smile to your face or feeling of peace that you made something or someone better off by your time and resources.

Recently my cousin passed away unexpectedly at the age of 24. The shock of it was overwhelming to our family and his community of friends. By chance it was discovered on my cousin Sergio’s laptop a business plan that became our family’s motivation to create a 501c3 organization that incorporated what Sergio was planning to do on his own. The organization established helps young professionals with their living expenses so they can accept non-paid internships, with an emphasis given to those interested in politics and effecting social change. This was Sergio’s passion and now our family has a way to continue his work, keep his dream alive, and have his spirit live on despite his unexpected passing. We hold on to this tightly, because it’s all we have left.

It’s difficult to plan your death when you are middle aged or older, but rarely does anyone plan for their sudden death in their 20s. I’ve often spoke about estate and legacy planning to clients in the past going over the rules and tax implications with so little meaning behind it. Since my cousin has passed away, the idea of giving has taken on new meaning. There are intricate and complex steps that can be taken to make your money pass on to the next generation or to the causes you treasure in an efficient and expedient way. None of this matters, until you realize what the gift truly is. I completely understand now that the gifts you leave behind aren’t just for you and your own legacy, but truly a gift for the survivors to keep your memory and spirit alive when you no longer can be with them.

Giving is something you can do at any time. While you are alive you can give your time and treasure to the causes and people that matter most to you. It’s best to do when you are alive because you get to experience the joy that comes with it. There are strategies to make your gifts and money stretch farther and be more tax efficient. Seek advice on gifting. Your tax, legal, and financial advisors can work together with you to craft strategies that are just right for you. Gifting highly appreciated stock, life insurance, creating charitable trusts are just some of the many tools you have available to you, to make sure you never run out of money for yourself, leave something for your loved ones and do the charitable work you are passionate about. What better time than the present to get these wishes in writing and show your loved ones how much you care.

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