A legacy letter, or a final letter, is a document used to share stories and to communicate a person’s values and hopes with future generations. It is not a legal or official document, but it can be an integral part of your estate plan.
What Does a Legacy Letter Contain?
For hundreds of years, families have been writing letters to their loved ones and to their future families. Historically, these letters have included words of wisdom, poems, or personal stories. Sometimes, the person writing the letter will also include a photo or a small piece of sentimental artwork. Modern legacy letters can be in a variety of formats. They can include videos, pieces of clothing, family recipes, or other important items. It really just depends on what message or objects the individual wants to share with loved ones.
When Should You Write a Legacy Letter ?
There is no specific or “right” time to begin working on a legacy letter. A person can write it whenever it feels appropriate for them. Some may choose to work on their legacy letter when they’re first married or after the birth of their children. The document helps memorialize important life events. Others may work on their legacy letter a little later in life, when they want to preserve family stories or document accomplishments and advice. It really just depends on what you want to share, and how.
What Should You Write About?
If you want to write a legacy letter but are not sure where to start, think about the most significant moments in your life so far. This can be related to something you accomplished, something you learned, or something related to the growth of your family. Here are a few ideas:
- Life lessons
- Advice to share
- Family stories
- Family accomplishments
- Family traditions
- Stories or photos about births, graduations, marriages
- Hopes for loved ones, grandchildren, future relatives
- Stories about the founding of a project or business
- Hopes for the future of a project or business
You can write your legacy letter during one sitting or work on it and gather important items over a longer period of time. The options are flexible. Once you have completed the document, the next step is to include it with your estate plan. You’ll want to keep the document in a safe place along with your other estate planning documents. Make sure your family and estate executor know about your legacy letter and how to access it when needed.
Benefits of Creating a Legacy Letter
A legacy letter is a wonderful way to share personal stories and impart wisdom. It is also a valuable tool for self-reflection. As a person revisits their own life experiences and focuses on their legacy, they can learn more about themselves and their own goals. Writing about what we’ve learned and accomplished can be a healthy exercise and healthy coping mechanism. The resulting document can also bring families closer together.
Have Additional Questions? Contact Our Estate Planning Team
If you’d like to learn more about legacy letters , or if you’re interested in scheduling an estate planning consultation, please reach out to Brian M. Douglas & Associates’ estate planning team at (770) 933-9009 or via our online contact form. We would be happy to help.