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When you hear the word ‘legacy,’ what comes to mind? For some, maybe it means becoming famous or well-known for your contributions to the world, even if just to your family or immediate community. For others, it may mean building wealth that will surpass your lifetime. Others may think of close family connections and ancestry. If you’re thinking of any or all of these things, you’re right. We believe that building a legacy can not only include all or some of these things, but so much more.
When it comes down to it, the word ‘legacy’ as defined in the Miriam-Webster dictionary, is:
A gift by will, especially of money or other personal property
However, an alternative definition is also listed:
Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
At Wills & Wellness, we intentionally combine and customize both of these definitions with our Legacy Planning services because both can significantly impact future generations.
What is legacy planning?
Legacy planning means just what it implies; planning your legacy intentionally and with future generations in mind. What exactly does that include?
- Letters: Leaving a personally written letter to your spouse, children, extended family, friends, your financial executor, children’s potential guardians, and your medical power of attorney can significantly enhance the personal connection they have with you even after you’re gone. Highlight your desires, wishes, and sentiments for each person who survives you. Letters like these are invaluable.
- Funeral pre-planning: This isn’t exactly the fun part of planning your legacy, but it’s crucial nonetheless. Think of it as leaving behind a final roadmap for those who survive you. Without it, your loved ones have to navigate questions like: What would they want for their funeral? Cremation or burial? What would they have wanted… Amid grief and tragedy, preplanning your funeral can ease the burden on your loved ones of feeling lost and overburdened by decisions.
- Digital documentation: Nowadays, we have something our ancestors did not: enhanced video and digital technologies. Recording a video of your last sentiments and wishes can be incredibly healing and soothing to those who you will leave behind. Besides your written letters and paper documentation, video impacts and drives home your final wishes and testament. Recording funny stories, advice, and your family history will be a cherished treasure long after you’re gone.
After you have documented your last wishes and sentiments, conducting a meeting with your family with a family meeting facilitator can help clearly communicate your desires with the most important people in your life.
Now that you’ve started your plan to build your legacy, have you wondered about the gift your ancestors left to you? Read on.
Did you know that a recent survey* on Americans conducted by Ancestry.com revealed that most participants couldn’t name their great-grandparents or all four of their grandparents! The survey also showed Americans are eager to know more about their relatives and connect with their past generations and heritage, explaining the upswing in DNA and ancestry product purchases. We understand the importance of knowing where you come from and believe this knowledge can increase your family’s connection with your family, past and present. We offer genealogy mapping services that include DNA testing and interpretation and help with family research.
Legacy Planning Services at Wills & Wellness:
No matter how you define the word ‘legacy,’ perhaps we can all agree that leaving a legacy is not only important, but is truly a gift to those we love and are leaving behind. Our Legacy Planning architects can help draft the blueprint for your legacy and help you navigate your family history.