Your life is your story, something that holds meaning to you and is close to your heart. Just take a minute and think about all the lessons, knowledge and tips you’d like to pass on. It could be anything about your family history, stories behind possessions and photos or maybe your favourite recipe. Because we are talking about your entire life’s work here, sorting it all out can be a mammoth task and it can be difficult to know where to start.
So, to make this fairly easier, we have categorised this into manageable pieces so you can begin assorting your legacy!
About Your Life – Fleeting Thoughts
Write down what you think about your family and friends. You can go ahead and share stories that matter to you along with tips and lessons you’d like to keep alive long after you’re gone. Whatever means you chose to keep a record of all these thoughts (handwritten journal/word document), ensure that someone knows where you’ve kept it all so that it can be shared and remembered when you aren’t around. Be sure to sure your photos as well so that these can be kept as mementos.
Keepsakes and Possessions
Share the history and thoughts about unique things you own as they may have interesting stories behind them. This will be very useful when your Will is discovered and in case you owe any kind of explanation for the decisions you made in regards to the things you left behind. You can download a free will template and speak of the things that you left out of your Will and have made other plans for them to land in the right hands.
Lineage and Family History
Make sure that your family tree is kept alive and available for future generations. They can trace back to their ancestors and lineage and can know where they come from. You can do this by sorting out how a relation is linked to the person. For instance list out paternal and maternal grandparents, parents and great grandparents, uncles aunts and so on. For every person on the list include their:
- Fond memories
- Lasting impressions
- Any other thoughts you may have
Old and Antique Photos
We live in a digital world today, but that doesn’t mean that families don’t have old photos from when the internet wasn’t the rage. Families might have black and white photos from decades ago and because you’re cataloguing everything, make sure that these aren’t lost or forgotten. Imagine how amazing it would be for someone in your family to find old wedding photos of their ancestors in an old album. To make this even more interesting, ensure that each photo includes the location of where the photo was taken and of course who is in these photos.
Food is an important part of everyone’s life and of course secret recipes and ingredients have been passed on from generation to generation all to keep the family legacy alive. Ensure that your future family isn’t denied of this and they can still enjoy these scrumptious meals for years to come. Here is a list of things that you must include:
- Name of the recipe
- List of ingredients required to prepare it
- Cooking instructions
- Additional tips and instructions
Charities That Matter to You
Mention all the causes that were close to your heart and charities that meant so much to you throughout your life. In regards to this, mention where you would want the donations to go after you pass away. Provide:
- The name of the charity
- Phone number and website
- Special and/or specific instructions if any
Writing Legacy Letters to Family and Friends
This is something that’s way too personal and can be difficult at times as well. But this is where you get to express yourself in all honesty to the people who are close to you without any law and rule restricting you. Stop worrying about things like where to start, what to write or whether the right person will receive your letter or no. Just pour your heart out and in case there is something that you wish to come clean about, this is where you can do it. Just organise your thoughts and take your time to get this right.
What would you say if you had to summarise your life in 500 words? Do you wish to be a source of inspiration for some people in your life? Are there are any ‘thank yous’ due for people who were kind to you in the hour of need? Do you have any final quips to share so that people remember you for your unmatched humour? All these questions will give a direction to you so that you can address your messages to the people you care about.
Letters Addressed to Specific People in Your Life
Many people refer to this as an ‘Ethical Will’ which is an awfully cold term for something that has so much spirit and compassion. This is where you get the chance to let your family and friends or anyone else know who you are and the way you really feel about them.
There are many people that you will meet in your life and each person has had his/her own connection with you. All these people who meant so much to you might need different personalised messages to help cope with the grief and void that your absence has left behind. You don’t have to write them a novel, but give them something that they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
The mere thought of this is enough to give us teary-eyed as this is the result of all that you lived for. Of course there’s so much that social media can do for you in this regard but you cannot deny that there’s is something extremely personal about conveying your thoughts to the people you love directly using a pen and paper.
Ensure that all these things are kept neatly and in a well-organised manner so that there is no room for confusion as to what is what. Once that’s all done, you’re good to go!