Estate planning often includes legacy planning, the practice of leaving behind not only assets for your family members, loved ones, or charities, but also creating a plan that will allow other people to remember you and your life in a positive way. Legacy plans seek to instill your values and leave behind something that’s often far more important than money or property.
Legacy planning can take many forms, but perhaps no legacy plan in recent memory has been as unique as the one created by Santa Fe art dealer Forest Fenn. His story recently came into the media spotlight after Mr. Fenn self-published a book in which he revealed that he took about $1 million worth of gold and historic artifacts, placed them in a 40-pound chest, and buried the chest somewhere in the wilderness.
In his self-published book, Mr. Fenn wrote a poem that leaves clues about the location of the chest, guaranteeing that anyone who finds it will be the rightful owner.
Mr. Fenn had been a very successful art dealer in Santa Fe when he was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer. The diagnosis changed his outlook on life and, realizing that he wanted to be remembered, he came up with a plan to bury the treasure and let people know about it so he could teach them not only the thrill of the hunt but also teach them about enjoying the natural beauty of the wild places in the country.
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