How to Write a Legacy Letter to Your Family
When we think about wealth in this culture, we usually picture houses, cars and other valuable property. That’s why we consider our will as a list of who gets what after we die. But your true wealth is much more than the sum of your assets. It is who you are. It is that community organization you have volunteered with for years. It is the life lessons you have learned. It is the values you hold dear.
Writing a legacy letter gives you the opportunity to reflect on your life and to share what is really important to you with your family. This written document is a way to pass down to your loved ones the essence of who you are. It also offers you a tangible way to express your hopes, dreams, blessings, gratitude, apologies and forgiveness.
How do you write a legacy letter? First, you do not need to see an attorney to write one. It doesn’t cost anything. All you need to do is leave a printed copy with your other estate documents. Each legacy letter is unique to the person writing it, but here are three prompts to help you get started.
- Who am I? Begin your letter by sharing your core beliefs and what is most important to you. You might want to tell a brief history of your life, including the turning points, decisions and events that you now know were the most significant.
- What lessons have you learned? Maybe your loved ones have never known the story behind why you donate all that time and money to that non-profit. This letter is your chance to tell them. For example, you could explain the source of your strong work ethic or why you love being in the outdoors so much. Another idea is to step back for a few moments to consider the top three experiences of your life and then share them with your family.
- Offer your blessings. What would you like the future to hold for your family? What are your hopes and dreams for your children and your grandchildren? This part of your letter can be a meaningful way to show your support and love for the people who mean the most to you. Whether you’ve said these things often in person or never said them at all, these written encouragements can become a timeless gift to your loved ones.
If you’d like more ideas and help with writing your legacy letter, call (541) 772-1116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of other prompts and suggestions. We’d be happy to hear from you.
Did you know estate planning is part of the comprehensive financial planning we do for our clients? Schedule your free consultation today through our Resource menu online: www.opfa.com. You can also learn more about legacy letters and other topics by listening to our Life By Design podcast: www.opfa.com/podcasts.
Please don’t put off writing your legacy letter. Write it today because I know we all agree that tomorrow is not guaranteed. And I genuinely believe that in the long run, your legacy letter will mean much more to your family than the other assets you may leave behind.