“When you have told anyone you have left him a legacy, the only decent thing to do is die at once.” – Samuel Butler

Of course, this humorous quote is not the type of advice we would ever give our clients, but it does illustrate an increasingly important point. Seniors today are living longer – forcing them unexpectedly to tap into financial resources originally intended to pass on to younger generations. In fact, many seniors are struggling to maintain their financial dignity while they are living, just so they can have something to leave their families when they are gone.

As trusted financial advisors, we need to help our senior clients live their lives with the satisfaction of knowing there will be a legacy for their family. Clients often are unaware that life insurance can help them fulfill that dream. Life insurance not only guarantees a legacy will be left once they are gone, it also can allow them to live life to the fullest while they are still able to spend time with their loved ones.

The truth is, the term legacy simply no longer applies to a large sum of inheritance passed along from parents to children. Today’s senior clients want to share more than a financial legacy – they also want to share a life’s legacy of dreams, values and accomplishments. They want to leave a lasting memory for children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

Here is an idea for our senior clients with a passion for education and learning. Many of them contribute to their grandchildren’s education and would feel that their lives were enriched to know they can pass that love along by helping future generations attend college as the beneficiary of their life insurance policy. A trust funded with life insurance, which their heirs could draw upon to attend higher education, would ensure that if they are not able to continue on their own, their legacy will continue for years and years to come.

There are also individuals looking to leave a legacy through charitable giving. Charitable gifts of life insurance often are an overlooked option. There are unique advantages to using life insurance as a gift, including the proceeds being received income- and estate-tax free by the charity. In addition, there are no probate delays and the seniors’ other assets are kept intact for their families.

Your clients may not think they need life insurance when they are older, but watch their eyes light up as you explain how life insurance can help them leave a legacy for their family, church or other charitable organizations. Not only will your clients be leaving money to their families, they will also be transferring their values and traditions – ensuring that their dreams and memory will live on.