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May is Leave a Legacy Month, an awareness campaign that encourages people to leave a gift through their will or by another means to a charity or cause that has meaning to them. First established in the US, Leave a Legacy Month has since moved to include Canada. The program is active throughout the year but is celebrated in May.

What is a legacy?

In historical terms, a legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another. It could be a moral legacy or a scientific one, such as the invention of electricity. Families pass down objects or ideas from generation to generation. These are what we remember of a person or a country. The concept is similar to that of an inheritance, something we inherit from one generation and pass on to the next. Usually an inheritance is material or economical while a legacy is immaterial or cultural.

There are many ways you could leave a legacy in your will:

  • Donations to a library or hospital.
  • Setting up a fund that will help orphans in other countries.
  • Leaving paintings or other works of art to a museum.

A legacy would be something that would help others for years to come, whether through ideas, financial help, education or advice. It involves considering those who will come after you and what they will need the most. How can what you have now help others in the future? What do you value and how would you like your life to touch others in future generations?

You can leave your mark on whatever you do. It means improving the world you now live in and contributing to a future world after you are gone. What kind of legacy would you like to leave?