Many people wrongly believe that leaving a “legacy” behind after their passing is something only the very wealthy can do. But a legacy is more than being a prominent donor to a museum or having a wing named after you at a university; a legacy can simply be the things by which your family remembers you. Here are a few free and low-cost ways that you can provide memories that your family memories will cherish for their lifetime.
- Write personalized letters: Free and easy! Take the time once a year to write a letter to your loved ones. These letters are meant to be shared after your passing. A card, handwritten note, or letter about the time you spent with your loved one and your feelings for the person will be something that’s cherished for a lifetime.
- Create video clips: With most adults owning a smartphone that can take videos, this is another task that can be done periodically. Record short video clips of you talking to your loved ones, giving them advice, telling them a story, or maybe saying you love them. These can be saved on a thumb drive or cloud storage and sent to each family member upon your passing.
- Create a scrapbook or compile photos: This can even be done digitally if you prefer. These photos will tell the story of your life as you saw it and give your loved ones a lens to help them know you and remember you as you really saw yourself, and through the memories that were special to you. We have “My Legacy” books in our office which include conversation starters and a place to include photos. Call us if you’re interested in picking up one of these.
- Create audio recordings: Record your voice telling a history of your life, remembering your childhood, events that affected you, and stories about your parents and grandparents. Oral histories are incredibly powerful to listen to and create an understanding of your life in full. Hearing your voice can also bring comfort, joy, and a sense of security to your loved ones after you pass.
- Create a cookbook: In your family, there may be recipes that have been passed down for generations or ones that you have perfected over the years. Document the steps of the recipe and make multiple copies so everyone can enjoy your famous dishes after you pass.
- Set in motion a tradition: Whether you spend every Christmas Eve volunteering at a shelter or running an annual holiday 5k, try to loop your family in on the traditions that are important to you. These are things that your family might want to continue in your name after you pass. It is a way of remembering you in a positive light instead of gathering in sadness.
- Talk openly about sentimental items: Be thoughtful and considerate about leaving your loved one’s heirlooms that are special to them. Consider asking them what items they are connected to before you create your will, and specifically bequeath those items to them in your final documents. This will help ensure each family member eventually inherits the items that are most cherished in their hearts.
If you want to discuss creating your final documents to ensure your full legacy is passed on to your family, please call our office to schedule a consultation.