How do you want to be remembered?

Sometimes thinking about dying can help you think about living, Myron Friesen says.

Field with plants growing in rows.
Do you want to be remembered as the one who was first in the field, the one with the most acres, or the one with the best sense of humor? Myron Friesen asks readers to consider how they want to be remembered.
Erin Brown / Grand Vale Creative

Well, isn’t that a deep question to think about during planting season? Now before you or I get all worried about dying, I actually sometimes think about that question because it helps me know how to live.

There are so many different things that may come to your mind when you think about remembering someone. One quick note as you read this, I am trying to include husbands and wives in these questions so if my references jump around, I am not confused, but rather just know that these thoughts may include men or women.

In the farming community maybe your known as the first guy in the field, or are you going to be known as the last one to the field? Are you the one with the perfect fields that everybody admires? Are you the one that hardly anybody even knows who you are? Are you the hardest working person? Are you the dynamic couple that does everything as a team or do you never work together?

Will you be known as the family first person, or will you be known as the farm first guy? Now I should clarify that one. Is that what you think or what others think? For example, sometimes I say family, but my time says farm.



Maybe you want to be the fun guy, or the sports nut. Maybe you’re the one with the shiny tractors and vehicles. Or will you be the one with the older equipment and made of money — and no one knows except you.

Do you want to be known as the most honest person or the wealthiest person, or the one with the most acres?

Maybe you would be known as the best husband or wife, the best dad or mom, or maybe the best grandparent.

Maybe you want to either be known as the funny one or the grumpy one.

Maybe you would be known as the smartest person, or the most helpful person or maybe known as clueless!

Maybe you would be known as the person with the most common sense or MacGyver creativity? Maybe your goal is to be the fairest person, or maybe you are the best hugger or the best meal maker?

So now that I have given you a whole list of ways a person would be remembered by, I am thinking about the challenges of farm estate planning. Parents want so badly to do what is best for their family and their farm. I’ve had people with great qualities say they want to be as fair as possible. I’ve had people tell me they want to be intentionally unequal. Some people have great relationships with their children and some relationships are pretty strained, like they seldom if ever talk.

For myself I would say my faith, family, farm, and fun are all important to me and it would be OK if I was known for those things. I like to tell myself that I have them all in the order all the time but that would not be true all the time. I like to think I have some of the positive qualities I noted but sometimes I realize I may also be some of the negative ones as well.


That reminds me of a saying I once heard: People may forget what you said and may forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel. As I think about that, that becomes really important with estate planning. Whether things are fair or equal or intentionally unequal, the question may be how do you make people feel? Hopefully thinking about this will help you live well, and in the end that will also be how you are remembered.

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or

What To Read Next
Get Local