A few weeks ago I was able to check off an item from my Arizona historical tour “bucket list” when Sandy and I spent the night at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona.  A short block from where the hitchhiker in the Eagles’ classic Take It Easy saw the girl slow down in the flat bed Ford, this renovated Fred Harvey hotel (servicing the Santa Fe railroad that first opened in 1930 and closed in 1957 before being renovated beginning in 1997) is a delightful summer getaway if you are an Arizona history buff.  Fully refurbished in the original style with the fabulous Turquoise Room restaurant, interesting art, a plethora of old photographs, I thought about life in the thirties and how my descendants will think about life in 2010 around the turn of the next century.

We completed our day by visiting Bearizona, a drive thru wild animal park 80 miles to the west in Williams, Arizona.

During this trip I saw the old and the new stand in stark contrast, and my thoughts turned to how to structure estate plans that will also span the generations.  I wonder if La Posada’s architect, Mary Colter, was thinking about 2010 when she began designing this hotel in the 1920s.  How amazing to construct not a building but an idea; one that survived the Great Depression, the complete renovation into offices for the railroad, and an attempted demolition, only to stand once again among the crown jewels of Arizona history and the Americana of historic Route 66.

If I can help my clients create such a lasting legacy I will be proud.  The best part is that although it’s not easy to project what your descendants will be doing in 90 years, it is absolutely possible to create a plan that can last such a length of time, especially here in Arizona. Arizona’s rule against perpetuities now allows trusts to be created with a life span of 500 years!  Where were your ancestors in 1510?

Creating a trust plan that might last even 100 years may seem like a Herculean task, but it is the long range plan that gives shape to the next generation and the generation after that, and that will free us from the mundane and help us focus on our enduring values.  I think it will benefit our children to know that the money and values they inherit are not necessarily for them to spend, but for them to grow and pass on.  May each generation surpass the last, and each succeeding generation be better than the last in every way.

I look forward to helping you focus on value based planning.  If you are a current client and already have a long-term plan we’ve created together, I hope you will pass this along to someone else who you think might enjoy seeing the big picture.