Richard Bach said “There’s no disaster that can’t become a blessing, and no blessing that can’t become a disaster.” While this is a true statement, unexpected and unplanned-for disasters can definitely cause a lot of stress and uncertainty. So the fourth plan we recommend addresses how business, leadership, and life will continue in our absence. Some call it a Legacy Plan.
A key component of the legacy plan is related to disaster recovery and business continuity. This plan needs to address all three of the prior areas we discussed. For example – what happens to the company if you get hit by the proverbial bus? What happens to the areas of leadership you are responsible for? What happens to your spouse, family, civic organizations, and other things in which you currently are involved? All those questions need to be addressed so there is no drop-off in the event of a disaster, be it short term or permanent. One thing we can all be sure of, life on this earth will come to an end. We do not know when, but we do know that it will. That is why we need to prepare, so that we are ready whenever that time comes.
But legacy is much more than just disaster recovery. It addresses the impact of a person’s life after they are gone. What will your impact be after you die? While physical assets may be deemed a component of a person’s ultimate legacy, the focus on family or institutional history, values, and the stories that define us dictates that every individual, family, and entity can be enriched through implementing a strategic legacy plan.
What are the key components to a legacy plan?
- 1. Personal mission statement – a series of guiding principles that lead you through daily and major life decisions. This answers the question “How will you live?”
- 2. Personal legacy statement – allows you to articulate what is closest to your heart. It is a record of messages and information too valuable to be lost and captures your innermost thoughts for the benefit of future generations. This answers the question “What will the result and impact of my life be after I am gone?”
- 3. If something happens to me – a collection of key information that makes recovery from a short- or long-term illness or death much simpler for those left behind
- 4. Exit Planning Guide – key information to make the funeral planning process go smoothly
- 5. Estate and Will Planning Template – key information to help in the creation and review of your will
These are simply some tools to use to put together a systematic plan to be sure that you have at least started the process of putting a legacy plan in place that prepares your company, leadership, and life for a change in your status. Without proper preparation, you put all things at risk and make the situation much more difficult and complex than it needs to be. No one really enjoys this process, but it is so very important to consider, so that you have something in place before it is needed. It is often not possible to address these areas once illness or especially death has occurred. So take the time now, record the needed information, and make sure those important in your life are informed of the location of the documents.