Estate planning: here's what you missed
Updated: Oct 21
You've tackled the big project of your will and documenting how assets are to be passed on to your children and/or grandchildren. You met with the lawyers, the tax and financial advisers, etc. The whole thing took longer than you wanted, cost way too much, and it wasn't particularly pleasant to contemplate your mortality -- you're happy it's done. Should a catastrophe befall you tomorrow, all that is buttoned up. Does that sound about right?
And yet, like the vast majority of people, you likely didn't include what can be the most meaningful part of that package: a record of the INTANGIBLE items that you want to last after you're gone.
Values, stories, family history, traditions, etc.
There are many ways ways you can do this. Some people like to keep it simple and write a legacy letter. These letters serve the purpose of conveying to your children (grandchildren or other loved ones) a short version of the information you hold most dear.
Another option is writing your memoirs. The terms scares off some people because it sounds like something only a writer would do, or something only appropriate for a celebrity. Both these misconceptions prevent rich family stories from surviving from one generation to the next. I have written multiple posts on this subject and urge you to take a look at what a memoir ghostwriter can do for you or download my free guide to writing your memoir if that is something you want to try yourself.
Life lessons don't come easy.
The thinking behind some of your most important decisions (your moral code, religion, education, profession, family, relationships, etc.) was likely made with great care, and much of that thinking was done before the arrival of the next generation(s). Every generation faces these questions. Why wouldn't you share your thoughts on these subjects?
It is a real gift to be able to leave your voice behind when you're gone. It's not just the content that is meaningful, but the ability of the reader to feel a connection with one of the most important people in their lives.
Another benefit creating a document while you are in good health and spirits is that the letter is a representation of you as you may prefer to be remembered. There is no lens of sickness, no forgetfulness or fogginess of extreme age. It's just you and the opportunity to remind your children of how much you love them.
So what does your letter sound like? There's only one way to find out.
I would be delighted to speak with you and answer any questions you may have about the work and costs associated with writing a memoir or working on a family history book. Please don't hesitate to call or email: 215-645-7766 / clemence @ memoirsandmore.com.