What legacy will you leave?

It’s just human nature. Wanting to leave something of ourselves behind when our time on earth is over. We need to believe that our lives have counted for something. That we made a difference. In short, we want to leave a legacy.

Obviously, we can’t all achieve fame and fortune, or accomplish great things. But all of us can leave the world a better place through our own personal legacy.

What legacy are you creating?

Without even being aware of it, you create your legacy by the way you live your life. Family, friends and your community will remember you for your beliefs and values, your actions (good or bad), things you created or ideas you shared.

Values and beliefs, in particular, are handed down from generation to generation. You probably inherited many of yours from your parents – and instilled the same ideas and values in your children.

Have you ever encouraged your child to give away toys or books they no longer play with to children with no toys of their own? Or let them pick out grocery items to add to a charitable trolley collection at your supermarket?

This is how you teach them the joy of giving to the less fortunate. And help create a generation of compassionate and caring people, who in turn, pass these values on to their own children.

Two generations down, people won’t remember us. Think about when your grandmother passed on. Do you remember details of her life? Details become blurred. But we remember how older family members made us feel and we are guided by their example.

Financial legacies

If you have inherited a strong concern for others, you’ll want to keep on caring for them, even after your death. You can do this through a financial legacy in your Will. This gift of money or property provides for your loved ones, and other people and causes you care about. If you don’t have children, or they are grown up and self sufficient, why not consider a charitable legacy? It’s a popular and enduring way of showing you care. And you’ll be remembered with affection for years to come.

History of charitable legacies

People have been leaving legacies to charity since the 1600s. In 1638, John Harvard famously left money that funded the establishment of Harvard College. Closer to home, Rhodes University was founded in 1904 with money left in trust by Cecil John Rhodes.

Tafta’s own Langeler Towers is named after Edith Langeler, whose generous legacy played a pivotal role in our ability to build a brand new residential complex for Durban’s elderly. Like universities, schools and hospitals, Tafta remains a popular choices for those who wish to leave a legacy or ‘give back’ to institutions that shaped their own lives, or cared for them.

Decide what legacy you want to leave

Not everyone can endow a university or old age home. But you can leave a financial legacy to sustain your favourite cause into the future. One of the easiest ways to do this is to bequeath the residue of your estate – what is left over after all other heirs, taxes, funeral expenses, etc. have been paid.

Another option is to leave a percentage of your estate. For example, if you have two children, you could leave them each 45% of your estate, and the remaining 10% to an organisation you admire and value.

Ask yourself who, or what, do you most wish you could help? If you could look down from heaven in twenty years’ time, what organisation or institution would you want to see, still thriving and serving your community? How crucial are their services? What would happen if they were no longer operating?

Answers to these questions will help you decide on the legacy you want to leave.

If you would like to know more about leaving a legacy to Tafta, please contact Madeleen on (031) 332-3721 or email madeleenv@tafta.org.za.