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The Montana Estate Lawyer

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Giving to Charity

Next week I am going on a short vacation.  The first few days of my time away from the office will be spent in Whitefish as I tag along with my wife, Rhonda.  She will be there along with her colleagues at Special Olympics Montana, and the many volunteers and athletes, as they take in the Special Olympics Winter Games.  I spent some time there last year observing the athletes and was overwhelmed by seeing firsthand how excited they were to participate and compete, and how genuinely happy they were to be there.  What a positive, uplifting experience!

Shortly after my return to the office, I'll be blessed with the opportunity to work on an estate plan with a local professional and his wife.  What is so exciting and special about this is their desire to leave their entire sizable estate to charity and charitable purposes.  Their legacy will touch the lives of many others for years to come.

Thinking about all of this, I can't help but recall the classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," one of the greatest films ever made and which I saw once again this past holiday season.  You will all easily recall Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, the compassionate but down on his luck businessman.   Through the film, George turns bitter, suicidal and abusive to his family, until he is shown by a guiding angel what life would have been if he never existed.   Unlike the Scrooge-like Mr. Potter, who sees money only as a means to self-prosperity, George comes to understand and appreciate that money can be a means to create happiness for others.   By doing just that, George is toasted as the "richest man in town."

My point in all of this is that by sharing of yourself – – donating money, whatever it might be that you can afford, and by giving some of your time and expertise to charity and charitable purposes, you enrich your own life and the lives of others by creating a happier, healthier and safer world.  Now that IS wonderful!

Jon


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