Darcy Houghton: Feel good helping others

It is again that time of year when our thoughts turn to the holidays and often to making special family moments and to giving.

We live in an amazing community where there is rarely a weekend that goes by when there isn't a fundraiser for something - we recently stocked the shelves with Trick-or-Treat for Friends In Service Helping, now we can buy pie baked by our favorite chefs; then, there are the turkey drives and turkey dinners offered by many community organizations.

This article provides some tips to get the most out of your holiday giving and some thoughts to enhance your legacy.

Studies show that kids who are involved in giving stay more focused and get better grades. They show that people afflicted with a challenge (cancer, drug addiction, financial hardship) are more likely to fare better with their challenge if they are helping others in the same situation. By helping others, the giver is blessed.

What this means is that even in these challenging economic times, if we can give of our time to organizations that help similarly situated folks - we are actually helping ourselves and the same applies to kids. I see this as a win-win.

Studies also show that children learn how to give from those around them. Making the midnight dash to purchase Toys for Tots won't have nearly the same impact on your kids as a planned trip to the store where the kids participate in the process. Even with adult children, it helps to share with them how you give and why you have chosen your charities. And, even more important, giving truly should be joyful, or the lesson doesn't achieve the desired outcome. Giving goes further when it is intentional and joyful.

As I have shared repeatedly, legacies are made. Legacies don't require millions of dollars. Legacies are the culmination of what is passed on, good-or-bad, rich or not, they are what the next generation takes from us. It is good to take the time to create the written plan, to assure that the family functions in time of crisis. However, a legacy doesn't start with a will or a trust - it starts with today and what we do with it.

The holidays are such a special time to create legacy moments and memories. Let's continue to do what we do every day, but, let us share it with our loved ones in a way that they can carry our legacy to the next generation.

• Darcy Houghton is a resident of Carson City and accepts cases in estate planning and business law. She may be reached at 775-882-1777, or visit her website at www.hou2plan.com.


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