Do you have a will? A will is a legal document that tells your loved ones what you want them to inherit after you’re gone. But consider an adjunct to your will: a legacy letter, sometimes called an ethical will. It tells your loved ones what you want them to know.
What is your legacy? It’s not just the money and possessions you leave behind. It’s your values, your hopes for your loved ones, the lessons you’ve learned. “This is what has mattered to me” or “this is what I believe” or “this is what I want you to know about me” or “this has been my passion in life” are all priceless expressions of yourself to send into the future—to children and grandchildren.
You learn a lot about yourself in the process of writing a legacy letter. It helps you come to terms with your mortality, and gives you the opportunity to look back on your life so far. It provides a sense of clarity and completion.
Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield Farms, created a legacy letter while he was in his 40s. “I’ve been doing a lot of estate planning, and you can’t say anything [in a will]–you can’t even use adjectives,” he told the Boston Globe. “I wanted a written record and road map of what my wife and I were trying to do … I want [my children] to understand where this [legacy] came from, and to inspire them to think hopeful thoughts.”
• Legacy Letter: Based on a 60-90 minute interview, this is a document of 1-5 pages, presented in personalized folder.
Questions? Contact me.