Where there’s a will, there are relatives. Nonprofits that benefit from a legacy can find themselves in the uncomfortable position of competing with heirs regarding the terms of a bequest.
Even when there is no fight over the money, a nonprofit leader might wind up serving as an unofficial, and unpaid, advisor to an heir about the disposition of a will.
In their book “The Legacy Conversation” Carolyn J. Friend and James M. Weiner wrote that the handling of a will can produce the “dragons” of jealousy, envy, greed and power struggles.
- Further, anyone dealing with a legacy might have to deal with six myths, what the authors call the three wealth myths and the three money myths. The wealth myths:
- Wealth is the solution. The expression “Money doesn’t buy happiness” is a familiar one, but few believe it.
- Wealth taunts the dragon. There is a difference between thoughtful planning and an unhealthy preoccupation with every potential hazard.
- Too much wealth is the problem. The problem isn’t what people have; it’s what they do with it.
- The money myths:
- There is a pot of gold to be found. This myth threatens to overshadow the accomplishments of people who work hard but don’t receive awards and prizes.
- One must suffer to achieve. The opposite of the pot of gold, the bootstrap theory can twist thoughtful, wise effort into something never-ending.
- “The Good Life.” It can be achieved, but there is no place with no troubles.