What Would Your Kids Say Your Family Values Are? Do They Even Know Them? 

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Your Legacy is More Than The Money You Leave: It’s What You Teach Your Kids 

While we’re knee deep in the daily struggles of raising young children, it’s hard to see beyond the hysterics of a toddler being asked to drink from the blue cup instead of the green one he wanted.

Ten years from now, though, when that green cup is long forgotten, will you have achieved the big picture goals you have for your family and children?

What do you want them to be like as adults? What values do you want them to carry with them and pass onto their friends and community? 

Alles Law is passionate about parents planning for the future. And no, they don’t just mean via estate planning or wills (though they are very skilled at this). 

Alles Law works with families daily, and they know how important it is to keep your eye on the future. How will you nurture relationships with your kids? Which character traits are most important to you? Which adults do you want to be role models for them?  

It’s time to think about your legacy and what really matters in life.

What Will Your Legacy Be?

We all want our kids to be the very best version of themselves. But after we’re gone or even after they’ve grown up, what specifically do we want?

“Your legacy isn’t just about the things you leave behind,” says Tim Alles, owner of Alles Law. “Your legacy is your kids and their relationship with one another and the lives that they will go on to build.”

I love this notion and realized that this is the legacy my parents have left me. Now I wonder – am I doing the same for my kids? 

My parents let us move back home after college, rent free. They helped us pay bills when we were starting out. They were there when their eight grandkids were born. They keep beds in their house, even after downsizing, so that we always have a place to sleep when we visit. 

Last year when my mom unexpectedly fell and later died, my sisters and I dropped everything to be there for her and Dad. 

They modeled the importance of family to us, and that made it easy for us to show up. 

Kids who eagerly “come home” for holiday celebrations. Grandkids who are excited to spend time with them. Daughters who carry on the traditions they started. Sisters who argue with each other, but still call each other in a crisis and have each others’ backs.

That’s my parents’ legacy. 

That’s the legacy I want to leave my kids. 

When you’re gone, will your family continue on with values that would make you proud? Does my mom look down on me with pride? 

“Every family has some dysfunction,” Alles says. “But at the end of the day, do they have each other’s backs?”

Focus on What Really Matters

When my kids ask me to play a game with them, it’s so much easier to just put on the TV instead so I can make dinner.

But when my kids look back on their childhood, would I rather they remember all the TV they watched or the time they spent with me? 

My own favorite childhood memories are the ones where my parents spent time with us: family vacations, game nights, bike rides, holiday celebrations and anything else where their attention was solely focused on us. 

Am I giving those memories to my kids?

Your kids don’t care if the house is clean or if dinner is on time. They care about feeling loved and appreciated.

Their grades don’t matter. Kindness matters. So do empathy, compassion, common sense and manners. Teaching my kids to be the best version of themselves is what matters. 

“The real learning comes from doing life together – the easy stuff and the hard stuff,”  Alles shares.

A Good Guardian Will Reflect the Same Values as You

When you invest all this time in teaching your children your values, and leaving a lasting legacy of love and support, who will step in when your impact on your children ends? Who will carry on this legacy if you die or become unable to care for your children? 

We often think about who could raise our kids if we died. But have you considered who could go beyond providing a safe home? 

“Selecting a guardian is the deepest level of estate planning,” says Alles. 

The most important part of choosing a guardian is thinking about who will raise your kids well.

Who has the same morals and values as you? Will your chosen guardian be overwhelmed if left with your kids, possibly in addition to their own? Who can help your kids live their best lives? 

“You can leave money efficiently,” Alles cautions, “but if your kids turn into human beings who could just completely ruin their lives with that money, that’s not a good thing.”

Do You Have a Plan in Place for Your Child’s Guardian?

“No one cares more about your kids than you do,” Alles says. “But how will you help their guardian once you’re gone?”

Whether the guardian is going from single life to parenthood or adding more kids to their own brood, it will be a big change for them, too. Your estate plan can help make things a little easier on them. 

“Parents of young children should have a lot of life insurance,” Alles advises.

Tim Alles suggests allotting some of your financial resources towards helping your guardian. Some money can be designated for a meal service while other funds can be earmarked for a parents’ helper to drive your kids to activities. 

Consider writing a letter to the guardian, telling them your hopes for them and your kids’ futures. Alles’ suggestions include: 

  • “We hope you will use some of this for counseling for our kids.”
  • “We hope you will raise them in these ways…”
  • “We hope you will use the resources we’ve left behind to help you so you don’t resent accepting this job. We hope it will be a wonderful thing for your family.”
  • “School is not this child’s thing. But xxx is.”

What really matters? Making sure your kids are okay. Doing what you can to help their guardian be successful. 

Planning now can leave a blessing to your family, not a curse. 

Alles Law Can Help

Have you had these conversations already? Or do you need some support facilitating them? 

Contact Tim Alles and the team at Alles Law to help set up your estate plan. They will not only walk you through the financial portion of estate planning, but will have tips for choosing a guardian and smart questions to ask as you build a complete plan for your family.

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