What is your legacy? That’s a very deep and thoughtful question. What would you want the next generation to know? Do you have important information only you can pass on to your loved ones? Maybe it’s family history or culture in the form of heirlooms, clothing, photos, or recipes. Whatever your legacy is, it is a reflection of you and the life you lived. Gathering your legacy is a huge task and we want to help you through the process.
About My Life: General Thoughts Write down thoughts you have about family and friends, share lessons, tips, and important stories you'd like to be carried on. So many people are often left wishing they had heard stories or had a written record of family stories when someone passes. Creating a record of your life will allow every generation to hear these stories and learn about their family history. While holding a handwritten piece is sentimental and powerful, an item like a handwritten journal can easily be lost or destroyed. We highly recommend making a digital copy or just creating a digital journal that will allow you to share these precious memories, stories, and history with your loved ones. Including photo from this time will help further illustrate your story and give your loved ones something to memorialize in the future.
Possessions & Heirlooms There are always family possessions that have a story behind them and part of your legacy will be to pass these items on along with its meaningful story. It’s also a good place to explain decisions you made in your Will, as well as things you left out of your Will but still want to end up in the right hands.
Genealogy & Family History Keep your family tree alive and healthy for future generations by sharing details and stories about deceased family members. We recommend creating a digital document with these stories so they won’t get lost and they can easily be shared. Creating an actual family tree will help your family get a good picture of the family history and relatives of the past. Include everything from favourite memories with these family members, stories, lessons, medical history, and general thoughts on each of the family members.
Photos Like the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. There is so much history and story behind an image that preserving photos is so important to your family legacy. If you have physical copies of photos, we highly recommend scanning them and saving them in a digital format so they can be preserved for forever. Not only will it be easier to find and organize but sharing them with all your family will be so much easier. Try to include notes about each photo like, the place, time, and the individuals in the photos.
Family Recipes Recipes and food are such a big way we can preserve our culture and legacy. The nostalgia of eating a dish that has been in your family for years is an unbeatable feeling. Recipes often get lost through the generations due to individuals not recording these recipes or they were written down but the one copy was lost. Again, we highly recommend creating a digital file that will allow you to not only easily update recipes but pass them on for future generations.
Favourite Charities Include all the charities and causes that have meant the most to you throughout your life, and where you’d want donations to go in your name after you pass.
Memorialization Let your family and friends know how to best memorialize you. Perhaps you want a tree planted in your name or your favourite park bench to include a plaque with your name on it. Write this all down and let them know what it means to you to be remembered in this way.
Write Legacy Letters To Your Family & Friends Many people wish they had more last words from family and friends who are deceased. This is not an easy task and you will want to fully collect your thoughts before writing each letter. Take your time and make sure you get to say everything you have always wanted to say to each important person in your life. This will not be something you can complete in a day but think about it over time and add important thoughts as they come to mind.
Letter To Everyone You want to address all the people in your life. You never know who you’ve touched with your presence in their life and a final message to everyone is so important. This isn’t the same as writing your own obituary. This is an informal way to share your thoughts, experiences, special stories, or anything you have in your heart and soul that you want other people to know. It shouldn’t be too long. This is a letter, not a manifesto. You can also consider recording a short video. Many people would love to hear your voice and see your face. Here are some tips for addressing everyone.
Stay Focused Address them in a brief but powerful message, about 500 words and at most a ten-minute video. Inspire people based on your experiences, offer them kind words during this difficult time, thank them for being a part of your life, or even crack a few jokes if that is who you are.
Be Careful If You Want To Go Dark Think twice about sharing something negative in this address, even if there may be some bad feelings. This is how you will be remembered and you need to consider how you want your last words to affect the people you have left behind. You’re gone so your family and friends will have to manage the backlash.
It Doesn’t Have To Be A Story These are your last words to the world and it doesn’t have to be a story but maybe it's a lesson you learned instead. Maybe you just want to let them know how loved you have felt over the years. There are no rules when it comes to expressing your feelings to those you care about.
Tell Someone About It While you might not want someone reading this or viewing these last words while you are alive, be sure that someone knows to look for it after you have passed. Whether it’s a handwritten letter or a digital document, leave it somewhere it can be found with instructions on where you want it posted.
Letters To Specific People In Your Life Sometimes called an “Ethical Will”, this is where you get the chance to let your family, friends, and anyone else in this world know who you are and how you feel about them. There are a lot of people in your life, and each person might require a different message to help ease the grief after you’re gone. You don’t have to leave many words but these will be words they will treasure for the rest of their lives. Make it a meaningful message for each loved one. Cater your letter to that person and the experiences you have had together. This letter or message will be cherished and will be viewed again every time you cross their mind.