The Future Is Now
By Erica Terence
In a clothing swap with neighbors, back when people were still gathering with abandon, a T-shirt printed ironically with a fax machine and the phrase “Reach the Future Faster” called on me to rescue it from the heap of unwanted items.
Who among us would have guessed how fast we would reach the future, not by fax machine but by a pandemic that few to none of us were prepared for? A future where person-to-person contact is frowned upon and handshakes are off the table, a thing of the past. A future where telecommuting and walking into supermarkets and banks in masks are suddenly – mind-blowingly - encouraged, even expected behaviors.
With the realization that we’ve accelerated and landed in our future comes the unnerving realization that the end of any of our lives could arrive sooner than we think too. Are we ready for that eventuality? Have we planned for it? Most of us are realizing in a panic that we have not, or not nearly well enough.
We don’t even have legal documents outlining who will inherit what we worked for and held on to during the geologic blink of our lives, or if we do they may be outdated. If the number of people in my life turning to estate planning right now is any indicator, the future is definitely now.
And what kind of future are we leaving behind when we go? Will it have wild rivers teeming with steelhead trout and salmon sandwiched between rugged wilderness areas in the mountains? Will it have rare native plant species and life-sustaining biodiversity? Will it have people who still remember a time when fire was more of a friend than a foe, people whose grandparents taught them to wield fire for the benefit of plants, animals and people? Will it have green jobs that help rural people support their families and pass local wisdom on to upcoming generations? Let’s hope so.
But we can do more than hope. We can write these values into our wills as charitable bequests and pass them on to our kids. And we can do it in flexible ways that benefit us and our heirs. To explore how you can leave a percentage or your cash or non-cash assets to groups like the Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC) doing critical work to protect and restore healthy ecosystems, economies and communities, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are in a position to give and are interested in including this kind of planned gift in your estate plans, I urge you to talk with your own financial advisors first. We’re also happy to consult our financial advisors and find an arrangement that meets your needs and even rewards you for the good you’re doing in this future.
Regardless of whether or not you want to include MKWC in your after-life planning, we still encourage you to think about the work you value most and the organizations that implement it, to ensure that you leave behind a legacy that continues to contribute to the places, people, and ideals that you hold dearest.
Erica Terence is the MKWC Development Director, born and raised in the Klamath watershed.