Creating a Legacy: 10 Good Things to Leave Behind

December 05, 2013

One of the chapters in the MyFinalChecklist binder is a list of suggestions for “Saying Goodbye” and it is always the chapter that generates the most emotion. The other chapters are lists of accounts and insurance policies and paperwork; this one requires thought and yes, a little soul searching.

Most people think of a legacy as, say, unlimited wealth and a baseball stadium. I prefer to think of a mini-legacy, which are the small thoughtful things we deliberately leave behind for our loved ones.

Consider these mini-legacy gifts for those you leave behind:

  1. List your five favorite movies or books and explain why they are your favorites.
  2. Make a scrapbook of your life, or of things you want to share. Consider making a small separate scrapbook for specific individuals.
  3. Record and/or compile a list of your favorite poems, or pictures of your favorite art and explain why you like them.
  4. Write letters for people in your life to be opened on significant dates like weddings, birthdays, or holidays.
  5. Give away mementos and other objects that are meaningful to the recipient now. Write up a history of the item, especially family heirlooms.
  6. Write down stories of your life with as much detail about location and those present as possible.
  7. Take lots of pictures with your family and friends. Don’t worry about losing five pounds or growing your hair back; your friends and family don’t care. Label photos in your photo albums and add a brief note with some background.
  8. Start (or continue) compiling your family genealogy. There are many resources available and you may have information about your family history that no one else has access to. Detail as much as you can.
  9. Put together a family cookbook with contributions from all members of your family.
  10. Make something pretty (artwork, picture frame, flower pot, etc.).

None of us like to think we will be gone someday, but preparing now will give those we leave behind something to remember us by.

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