My lawyer suggested I write a last letter to loved ones to go with my will. What kinds of things might I include?
We often follow the lives of the rich, famous and infamous on television and social media, but rarely do we take time to record our own personal beliefs, significant memories, every day experiences, and wisdom gained. Your letter will not be a full history of your life, just a brief capsule of intimate reflections you want to share. Your life may seem ordinary, but your story is important and in many ways is a special bequest for your family or friends.
All of us have something worth saying to the present and future generations. As Baby Boomers we have lived through monumental changes in technology alone that could be mentioned. At a recent visit to a local museum the children asked about arrow heads and heard tails of Indians in the area, viewed an apple press and lace up hook for shoes, and a hifi and records. The later of which raised quite a few questions.
You might recount some details about your job(s), hobbies, or share a love story of a long and solid marriage. Many of us lived through tough financial times that taught us to save as a couple and find inexpensive date night ideas. What about the warmth and tender moments of parenting. We chuckled the other night at dinner over a grandson enthusiastically shouting out in church services that the creation was “awesome” and which great nieces and nephews ate like birds and which gobbled down.
There is a once in a lifetime eclipse coming in August. Where will you be? Do you have stories worth sharing about the ice storm, hurricane or other times when being prepared benefitted your family? Are there historical events that had an influence on you? Where there prayers you had answered? These stories often survive in our oral histories, but really deserved to be preserved in a formal way.
And of course giving some explanation to your estate plan, the appreciation you feel for those that have cared for you in later years, your love for and pride in family members, and perhaps your testimony deserves a spot.
Obviously you are not going to select all of these, just the ones that stir your heart, instruct and inspire. I am touched by the words my clients sometimes share with me. Words that show forgiveness, humor and tenderness. I have no doubt their words and stories survived long after material mementos.
Disclaimer: Information contained in this column is meant to be of general information on frequently asked questions concerning disability, elder law, estate planning and probate law, and does not contain specific legal advice to a client. No attorney-client relationship is created by reading this column.