There are many ways you can leave a legacy. The most obvious, of course, is bequesting an inheritance to your survivors through your last will and testament. But your legacy is about far more than material things. Your nephew will be teaching his son how to fish and as he explains the feel of pulling up on the rod, he’ll flash back to the time you taught him that same technique. That’s also a legacy. Most of what we leave our children and grandchildren are memories – of who we are and what mattered to us. We provide this legacy by being with our loved ones and through our relationships.
But you can do more than just serve as a good role model. You can take a more active approach to leaving a legacy. For example, you could provide the family history by researching your genealogy. This is a wonderful way to let your kids and grandkids understand where you and they came from. Add your personal story to the genealogy record by including anecdotes and feelings. Describe your relationships with your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and children Doing this will enrich the bare facts and timeline, providing color so your heirs and survivors can know what it really felt like to live during your years. That’s a legacy no one else can provide.
Another way to leave a legacy is by contributing money or the equivalent to a charitable cause that reflects your values. For example, you can endow a scholarship to your alma mater for future students.
A legacy letter is everything you’d want to tell your loved ones and your survivors if you knew you didn’t have long to live. Write one that speakx directly to your loved ones and says all those things you wish you had told them earlier. Tell your grandson how much it meant to you to be at his birth and how sad you are that you won’t be able to watch him grow. This letter can be a way to ensure your spouse or partner knows how much joy your relationship brought and that you hope he or she will find happiness after you’re gone.
And finally, you could prepare an ethical will that lets you share the meaning of your life, beliefs and life lessons. An ethical will is your way of telling your personal story, tying together what you’ve accomplished, how you’ve lived your life and what you hope your heirs will take from you. It’s your way of still being in the room, which is the point of leaving a legacy.