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Confronting the Inevitable: A Deep Dive Into Legacy Planning with Author Kimberly Harms

Confronting the Inevitable: A Deep Dive Into Legacy Planning with Author Kimberly Harms
Photo Courtesy: Dr. Kimberly Harms

By: Michael Beas – Atlas Elite Publishing

In “Are You Ready?: How to Build a Legacy to Die For,” author Kimberly Harms bravely confronts death in a society that is typically known for avoiding the inevitable. Her book offers insightful commentary and useful advice. She debunks myths, clarifies cultural intricacies around death and legacy planning, and offers priceless advice on coordinating one’s legacy with one’s ideals and beliefs in this insightful conversation.

How do cultural and societal attitudes towards death and legacy influence our preparations for the future?

Unfortunately, we live in a death denying culture. We spend billions of dollars trying to extend our lives (which is good as it gives us more time to promote our legacy) but we do very little to prepare for the inevitability of our deaths. Because of this many families are left unprepared to manage life without us. 

Are there any common misconceptions about legacy planning that you aim to address in your book?

YES! Common misconceptions are that legacy planning is only about money and taxes, that it is only for older people, that it is too complicated, that once it is done it is done, that it only applies to family members, or that it is morbid. None of these things are true. You build you legacy by every action you take to every person you encounter. It needs to be addressed periodically, you can get professionals to handle the legal parts but the rest is not difficult, just a bit time consuming, and discussing and preparing for your demise is a beautiful gift to your loved ones. 

How can individuals ensure that their legacy aligns with their values and beliefs?

Writing a letter of intent can help you explain your wishes, a health care directive ensures that your wishes are honored, document as much as you can, lead by example, communicate your values while you are alive and adjust and adapt as the years move on. 

The concept of “graduating with honors” from life is powerful. What does this mean to you, and how can readers strive to achieve it? 

In my mind, graduating with honors means that your life uplifted the next generation so that they could graduate with honors too. It means living a fulfilling, meaningful and impactful life. Everyone has the ability to graduate with honors by simply loving and supporting the next generation. It is never too late to start, in fact those that have failed in the past to show love, can start right now to make amends, apologize and reconcile. One of the examples of a country on the honor role is Rwanda whose citizens realized that if they wanted their children to have a better life, they needed to forgive and reconcile (after appropriate justice was served) with the perpetrators of a horrific genocide. 

What role do you see storytelling playing in the preservation and transmission of legacies?

Storytelling is a wonderful way to bond with your children and grandchildren by describing the cultural heritage you have in common.  I have a few stories about my mother, son and husband that I tell over and over again and now I see my grandchildren doing the same.  Every time we celebrate a birthday, we go around the table and tell our favorite story about the birthday girl/boy.  It bonds us, it entertains us and it educates us about what is memorable.  Sometimes our biggest screw ups are the memorable stories.   When we laugh at ourselves when they are told, it helps those listening understand the importance of being able to look at our mistakes and at ourselves with humor.  On a broader sense, storytelling is a fantastic way to preserve culture and history, bond with previous generations, understand where some of your peculiarities come from and entertain.

Learn more about Dr. Kimberly Harms’ work visiting her website.

Published by: Holy Minoza

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