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Remember Leona Helmsley? She’s the hotel magnate who achieved infamy as the “Queen of Mean.” By most accounts, Helmsley earned this moniker because of her winner-take-all approach to business and even her family. 

But Helmsley made her biggest splash with the final settlement of her estate. Most people remember her for a $12 million gift left in her will…to her Maltese, “Trouble.”

This single decision was so widely publicized and reviled, that Trouble received several death threats. Poor puppy.

In reality, Helmsley was a pretty impressive philanthropist. After the 9/11 attacks, she gave $5 million to aid families of New York City firefighters and police. Additionally, she gave $25 million to New York Presbyterian Hospital for medical research.

But neither of these giant donations are mentioned when people recount the life and times of Leona Helmsley. Instead, they say, “What kind of person leaves millions to a dog?”

There’s a take-away here. Setting our personal legacies is tricky and requires careful consideration and planning.

The decisions we make today about the next stewards of our God-given resources will directly influence how we’ll be remembered.

So ask yourself these questions…

What are the core values and guiding principles by which I live my life?

Do I have a plan in place that reflects these beliefs and passions?

What do I want my will to communicate to my family and the world about what matters most to me?

For better or for worse, what’s done now will tell your story later. Will your legacy reflect your Kingdom calling. . . or will it be fit for the dogs?

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