Write Your Personal Legacy Letter For Family & Friends

by Kathleen M Rehl, UU St. Pete Legacy Builder

Your estate documents may be in place already. Good. Your legal will and possibly a trust take care of passing on financial assets and material “stuff”. But your far more precious treasures include your values, hopes, dreams, memories, and stories.

My mother’s legacy letter
Shortly before Mom passed, she wrote her Legacy Letter to be read during her memorial service. It’s filled with Mother’s wisdom, gratitude, and deep love. Her letter began:

“To you, my family, who are reading my Legacy Letter, please know how important you are to me and how much I love you. Life has been such a fascinating and interesting adventure with you.”

Mom’s two-page letter identified what was important to her. A couple of times a year, I reread Mom’s Legacy Letter. Her wise advice still speaks to me. How many times do you think I’ve reread her legal will since she passed years ago? Never.

You can give lasting true treasures
The money and possessions you leave family and others may quickly be spent or used up. But just as your fingerprints are unique, so is your Legacy LifePrint™. I created a special way to identify and communicate what makes you unique as your lasting legacy of love for family and friends. With permission, I adapted ideas from Barry K. Baines, M.D., author of Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper. I added my ideas to create the Leg­acy LifePrint™ Letters & Stories approach. It’s an easy way to share your values, hopes, dreams, memories, and more.

My legacy letter and legacy stories
After my late husband died several years ago, I also wrote my Legacy Letter. I’ve updated it several times since. Recently I started writing about important themes in my life. The result will be a little memoir booklet with about 15 short stories and poems based on these themes.

I’m having great fun with these story themes, and I expect to com­plete my memoir booklet by the year’s end—ready for family holiday giving.

Enjoy writing your own legacy letters and stories

  1. Download the free booklet, Legacy Lifeprint™ Letters & Stories at https://kathleenrehl.com/legacy.html .
  2. Skim pages and select those that resonate with you. Topics include balance in life, learning, family and friends, honesty, humor, giving, good, mistakes, spirituality, lessons, reflections, hopes, love, forgiveness, and others.
  3. Put checkmarks beside statements that fit you. Edit phrases if you prefer, adding or crossing out words. Write additional statements if you wish.
  4. Combine sentences on a separate page to be your Legacy Letter for loved ones and friends.
  5. Share your Legacy Letter with family and friends or provide instructions for sharing after you’ve passed. Keep a copy with other estate documents.
  6. Consider writing a longer legacy piece. Write two to three pages about each topic in your letter, adding photos if available. Your memoir can be a cherished gift for family and friends forever.
  7. Join our new Legacy Stories Small Group to write and share your personal narratives. Starting this fall, we’ll Zoom together online. Watch for more information about this fun group coming soon.