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Anyone who knows me will find it humorous that I am using a sports analogy to discuss the benefits and opportunities of estate planning.  I have grown up in the midst of true sports fans. I have not inherited the love of sports (beyond the trash-talking capacity). In any sport, as well as business development, we know that the success is often in the long game. 

Defining what is long is dependent on the game. As we look to build our legacy, our long game should be planning for at least three generations.  For many people, the concept of looking beyond the immediacy is challenging.  For so many, survival is the focus. When we are focused on thriving, we look beyond. It is encouraging to think about the possibilities and the opportunities to build a legacy for those who will come after us.  

One of my favorite scriptures is Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV): Write the vision. And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.

It reminds me that we should have a vision that outlives us, so that those who follow will have foundation, direction and strategy.  

A strong foundation creates the capacity to build a high tower. I see an estate plan as an opportunity to build a foundation that provides strategy, resources and vision that can be enhanced and developed with each new generation.  Just like with an airplane, the longer the runway, the greater the altitude that can be reached.  

I encourage people, through estate planning, to create a vision for the upcoming generations that has definition and direction with the opportunity to grow.  The vision will reflect the values of the grantor, yet allows for the ability to enhance the vision beyond that which the grantor initially held. The initial grantor has the fundamental commitment to build. It is the hope that the grantor has instilled and incentivized the desire to grow the vision for those who come after.

There is no way to know what future opportunities exist for our descendants.  The world is changing at such a rapid pace that we cannot anticipate what will exist. Therefore, we do not want to limit their ability with a vision that is so prescribed with no opportunity to explore new horizons.  

The legacy established through estate planning should provide the inspiration to explore while providing the tools with which to build.  The vision should ignite the descendants’ desire to pursue greatness and excellence consistent with the mission and vision.  The foundation does not have to be elaborate but one must create an action plan and vision and be transformational.

As we think generations out, we are able to create a strategy for growth, personal and financial legacy building that is enhanced with each generation. We know we do not have to accomplish it all today but we can build with each generation to impact the greatness of that which comes after. We can use the blessing of time to accomplish the vision while continuing to refine that vision.

Estate planning is a great tool that not enough of us employ to strategize for the long game for the great win. 

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