If you have children, what kind of legacy are you leaving for them? Many parents tend to think of life insurance policies, bank accounts and the inheritance they are working so hard to leave behind someday for their kids.
But the most valuable legacy you can leave for your children has nothing to do with money. Instead it’s the memories, mementoes and other priceless conversations that will help your children remember the love you had for them and the wonderful times you shared together after you are gone.
A Voice From The Past
One of the hardest challenges for adult children after the loss of a parent is closing out their cell phone account. Why? Because they still call the number over and over just to hear their loved one’s voice. They simply can’t bear the thought of losing that message and possibly “forgetting” that familiar sound.
Now imagine that same adult child receiving audios or video tapes recorded by mom or dad as part of their will or trust. In addition to their monetary inheritance, they are also receiving a special legacy where their parent was able to express just how much they loved their son or daughter, their hopes for their future and what life lessons were most important to them during their years on earth. Something that could be watched, read and cherished forever.
It would probably mean the world to that child—and if you’ve ever lost a loved one, it would probably mean the world to you as well.
I often encourage parents to include videos, letters and other “intangible assets” when doing their will or trust. It’s certainly what makes my firm different, as I want parents to leave behind a rich legacy that encompasses far more than material wealth. An Ethical Will is a wonderful way to express to your family how much you loved them. It can be more valuable to your family and friends than the “stuff” that you leave them. Legal wills deal with what happens to your “stuff” after you die. Ethical wills leave your values and morals to those you love. These can be just as important to your family.
If you’ve never thought about leaving such a legacy behind for your children, National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 20th-26th, 2014) is an excellent time to start. Many parents will pick a yearly date to write letters to their children reflecting on the year that has passed and the times that lie ahead. New Year’s Day, Birthdays and the completion of the school year are also a great time to do it as well.
More Ideas For Leaving a Legacy
There’s no right or wrong way to start creating a legacy for your kids. Below are some ideas and mediums that can be used to pass down your stories, love and wishes:
· Audio recordings
· Postcards from favorite places
· Completed journals
When deciding what to share with your kids, consider including the following:
· Family stories
· Tips for the future (i.e. life lessons you learned the hard way!)
· Your values
· Personal details about your own life and experiences
· Wishes for their future
· Reflections about the current year
· Reflections on their life milestones
· Your feelings for your children or other family members
· Anything to help your kids remember who you were and the love you had for them
Start a New Family Tradition
I encourage you to celebrate National Estate Planning Awareness Week by starting a new tradition for your family. Think about the legacy you want to leave behind to your children and start amassing “intangible assets” that can be passed down to them after you are gone. Remember, inheritances can be spent and assets can be sold, but the precious memories you leave behind for your children will last forever. If you are interested in making an Ethical Will a part of your estate planning, I am happy to assist you. Visit my website: abonelaw.com/estate-planning-wills-trusts/ethical-will/ to learn more about Ethical Wills.
If you would like further information or assistance, please contact Antoinette Bone at (817) 462-5454 or e-mail [email protected]