As part of the estate planning process, some people choose to write out their thoughts about life in a "personal legacy letter" that is filed away with their will or revocable trust. It serves as a keepsake for their loved ones to read in the future and states their views and perspectives on life in a personal way that other estate planning documents cannot.
It is easier to do this once the other pressures of estate planning are out of the way. Its purpose is not to explain any of the financial aspects of the estate plan but is a way to reach out to others from the heart.
Whether the letter includes secrets of success, special remembrances, memorable accomplishments, biographical information, a discussion on values or other thoughts, it is meant to convey what that individual views as his or her personal legacy.
Thoughts about how family relationships may change in the future can also be included. Some well-chosen words of remembrance can help the family during a difficult time.
As part of their legacy, many are proud to include reminiscences about their volunteer work and support of civic and nonprofit organizations. Describing the benefits of doing that can guide others in making choices throughout their lives.
The letter can be plain and simple, handwritten or typed, or printed onto colorful paper with photos included. It's up to the individual preparing it, but family members will definitely appreciate the effort and the intent behind it.
Such a personal legacy letter can be a satisfying way to communicate very important messages. It can speak volumes about its author's life and joys and serve as a connection to times past.
That's good planning.