Too often in our world of wealth management estate planning is about splitting up the money after you’re gone. I think this is too bad. For me, estate planning is also about leaving a legacy of wisdom.
Here are some things you might want to consider:
Write a letter to each of your loved ones.
Yes, I know this is a lot of work. If you have a spouse, a couple of kids, grandchildren and good friends each should get their own letter.
It might take you a long time and there will probably be some overlap. I hope you take the time to do this. I also hope that you personalize each letter with stories that will have meaning for each person. I have to believe spending time reflecting on what those who are important in your life have meant to you will be an activity you’ll love.
Tell people how much you love them while alive.
One of the problems with estate planning is too often your loved ones don’t find out what you want till your dead. That’s too bad. Instead, why don’t you think about having a conversation with those you love while you’re alive?
Don’t forget to tell people that you love them a lot. You never know when the last time you’ll have the chance to say I love you. Too often we wish we had said I love you to someone we love and never took the opportunity to do so. Don’t let this happen to you.
Make a video of what you’ve learned.
I’m 62 years old. I don’t think there’s any chance that I’ll have an opportunity to directly influence great grand children. It’s something I would like to do.
An easy way for you and I to influence future generations is to make a video of lessons we’ve learned. We can talk about mistakes that we made both personally and generationally. We can talk about how we feel about the mistakes and what we’ve learned. I think this is a great gift we can give future generations.
Talk to future generations about what makes a great life.
When we’re younger we’re engrossed in getting jobs, houses, having children and preparing for and living life. We’re often too busy going after goals and not enjoying the trip.
When I think of estate planning I think of what’s made a good life. What are the things that I’ve done that have created value in my life. I want to either write and or record what I think is true and share it with those I love. I hope you also want to do this.
Some people think life doesn’t end till you’re not remembered.
There is a saying in many religious systems that you’re not really dead till no one remembers you anymore. There probably is some truth to this. I know that once we’ve lived 55 or 60 years we’ve accumulated enough wisdom where it’s worthwhile for us to think about how we can share our wisdom with those we care about.
I hope that you’re willing to start planning for a legacy that includes passing wisdom to those that you love and have made your life better. I think both of you will appreciate the effort you spend.