With Legacy, we all have one more child

We are each endowed with different talents and advantages. Children, in particular, are a blessing that come to some and not others.

But whether we have ten kids or none at all, we all have One More Child to worry about and protect. We each have a unique opportunity through this Child to pass our values on to the next generation. That One More Child is community, however we may wish to define it.

This concept hit me on the day that Dan and I bought our first small insurance policy in Philadelphia. Our first son Benjamin was five months old and the reason for the purchase. There was a line on the document for a contingent beneficiary and I wondered:

What would happen if, just by chance, something were to happen to us? One thing lead to another, and Dan and I had our first legacy conversation!

The legacy idea began to grow on us. Our family of three had now expanded to four with one more member, a cause or organization, that would receive a portion of the legacy – no matter what happened. It didn’t mean that the portions were equal, just that something would be shared.

Of course, I didn’t realize at the time that I’d end up as a Legacy professional in Tucson, Arizona assisting hundreds of others with a Legacy for their One More Child. Nor could I possibly foresee that I would someday fulfill my dream of living in Israel where I could help Israeli organizations with securing their financial future through legacies.

But, in that moment, I began to understand just how powerful the concept was.

No two donors were ever the same. They ranged from 30 something’s to 90 and definitely from all levels of wealth, what we came to call “every walk of life.”

Rebecca, a young widow, named four beneficiaries, her synagogue where she was president, the local JCC, and two Israeli organizations for children and teens. Martin, my first donor, decided that it should go unrestricted to the community because he couldn’t read the future. Jeff and Marlene, after much thought, asked that their children select beneficiaries.

Some meetings were joyous, others brought tears, sometimes nostalgia, sometimes recall of loss. But it was always electric. And it invariably ended with a feeling by the donors of accomplishment, a feeling of completeness.

As I walked into an event one morning, donors I’d spent several years assisting called out across the room: “Best thing we ever did!”

So, who is your One More Child?

It is how you define community and it is an opportunity to put your personal imprimatur on the future. This child is one that you believe in and that you choose to protect by including in your legacy.