topic | life planning - legacy

Step 1: think about your legacy

Activity 1
: Identify goals.

Life planning starts with legacy planning. A legacy often includes:

  • A "bucket list" of life experiences
  • Values, ethics, and philosophy to live by
  • Family heritage and stories of previous generations
  • Philanthropic objectives
  • Business succession planning
  • Financial goals
  • Chosen recipients for heirlooms having emotional value

Legacy planning often involves family and friends. It is also advised to seek professional assistance. To find professionals who specialize in legacy planning, see STEP 2. Advanced preparation using the above list may be very helpful prior to an initial meeting.

The following activities can assist in the initial documentation of a legacy, and work in concert with the overall legacy plan.

Activity 2
: Assemble and Organize Memorabilia.

Start by listing existing physical memorabilia:

  • Journals, diaries, scrapbooks
  • Photos, audio recordings, videos
  • Documents, notes, drawings, newspaper clippings
  • Legal, military, work, geneoaogy records
  • Etc.

The Forms Library contains a Family Memorabilia form for listing items, their locations, and intended recipients.

Use the above memorabilia to access feelings that reveal your values, ethics, and philosophy:

  • I want to be remembered for . . .
  • Proudest moment or accomplishment . . .
  • Three favorite celebrations as a child . . .
  • The person having greatest influence on my life . . .
  • Lessons to pass on . . .

It is wise to keep notes, either in writing, audio files, or videos.

Best Practices

Many people find it difficult to know what to ask when conducting an interview. Click here for question ideas. One resource for documenting and sharing your story is

Activity 3
: Assign Ownership to Personal Collectibles:

Legacy planning includes forethought regarding transfer of personal property to specific individuals to perpetuate your legacy. It is important to pass on possessions that represent memories to people for whom these items have special meaning. The Will should list specific items to be passed on to an heir. There may be other possessions, with little monetary value (including artwork, jewelry, household items, etc.) that may not be mentioned in a Will.

It is up to the executor to distribute non-probated items in the estate. The decedent's wishes for non-probated items can be specified using a Personal Property form listing tangible items such as artwork, computers, appliances to be bequeathed.

It is important that family members know where to access your list of wishes regarding any personal items not mentioned in a Will or Trust.

(if this Step is complete)
to Step 2

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