A family crest, or coat of arms, is probably the oldest form of family branding. Crests use primarily animal imagery to communicate the values, achievements and traits of a family. Want to boast about bravery? Use a boar’s head. Show great strength? Consider an elephant. Every color and figure—from plants to mythical creatures—symbolizes a defining characteristic of the family. It’s the ultimate in medieval branding.
A crest is the design on the shields of medieval knights. It is specific, and therefore unique, to the knight. They were a little like metal resumes, sporting symbols that represent the knight’s greatest achievements. The colors, shapes and symbols were easily understood and recognizable to a medieval audience.
The Crest: a Roadmap to You
In England, a family crest is reserved for nobility, though, as we saw recently with Kate Middleton’s marriage into the royal family, even in England crests can be created under the right circumstances.
In the US, family crests have always been a product of our imagination and invention. They serve the purpose of branding a family: showing what qualities we embody and value.
Family: The Best Inheritance
When it comes time to consider estate planning, having a family crest—or going through the process of designing one—can be helpful. Crests help you identify what makes your family unique and what it values. These are exactly the kinds of consideration you’ll be making as you begin legacy planning. Defining your priorities and your values can help you choose symbols for a family crest, but also help create a roadmap for the kind of legacy you’d like to leave.
While, today, we may not build family crests, the exercise of defining what you might put on a coat of arms can be helpful in identifying your family’s priorities and defining characteristics. This kind of self-knowledge is critical to effective estate planning.
Join us for our Legacy Workshops on topics such as Family Branding, Ethical Wills, Cinematic Interviews with music and capturing emotional moments, Photo Books (pets included), Rituals, Legal Language in trust, Community Foundations, and so much more.
Free Legacy Workshop
1:30 pm-3:30 pm or 6:30 pm-8:30 pm
2 Riverfront Place
North Little Rock, AR 72114
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