You won’t be remembered by the money you left behind; your legacy will be your stories.  Have you thought about the emotional side of estate planning?

Estate planning is all about getting your affairs in order.  The more you organize now, the less your family has to figure out and deal with later. Estate planning experts often advise you to have a last will and testament, a living will, designated beneficiaries, and many other legal documents to help settle your estate.

But most estate planning lawyers just help you with the financial side  They ignore the emotional side of your life — the part where all the good stuff happens!

Your estate planning needs to include your memories, traditions, and family stories.

Don’t let your memories be lost forever

Stop worrying your life isn’t interesting enough.  No matter what age you are, you’ve loved, you’ve lost, you’ve Mother, grandmother and young daughter siting together on a couch. learned, you’ve laughed, you’ve lived!  These experiences, decisions, relationships, dreams, and disappointments are stories that define your legacy.  But if you don’t write them down, they’ll be lost forever.  Don’t let that happen.  Make your life stories just as important as your final arrangements and will.

And here’s a mind-blowing fact—your family wants to learn more about you and hear your stories.  They might not be asking for them right now (those ungrateful twerps!), but they’re going to want them one day.  And your future great-great-granddaughters and great-great-nieces want you to write about your life.  They want to hear all about you.  And your family.  And how you navigated this crazy world during the time you spent on it.

Start writing down your family stories

Are there any Laura Ingalls Wilder fans out there?  We all love her books because they’re heartwarming.  Entertaining.  Fun to read.  Laura simply wrote her childhood and early adulthood memories—from daily chores and sister squabbles to amazing holiday celebrations and tragic events.  Her family stories educate us about life in the late 1800s and they’re still relatable today.

The Ingalls were pioneers on the prairie, but their lives mirror what’s happening in ours today.  Laura cried when her beloved bulldog Jack died.  She wanted revenge on that bratty rich girl Nellie Olsen.  She fell for the boy with the fastest horses.  Laura survived the grief of a miscarriage.  She rebuilt her home after a fire.  In short, she lived her life as best she could through the good times and bad times.  Does that sound familiar?  Hint: we’re talking about you!

Her stories remind us we’re not alone.  She’s been through what we’re going through.  She felt how we’re feeling.  Her legacy stories connect her to us.

This is exactly what you need to do for your family.  You’re not always going to be here to make them feel better with a hug and kind word. But you can offer comfort and empathy by sharing your experiences.

Start by writing down your memories.  They’ll define your legacy—the actions and stories you want to be remembered for and that your family will pass on to future generations.  They’re the stories that showcase your values.  The greatest lessons you’ve learned.  The very essence of you!

Capture the emotional side of estate planning

You can begin your emotional estate planning with a blank notebook or a laptop computer.  Grab a favorite beverage, find a comfy chair, send your spouse out for groceries, and start writing.  Don’t overthink it—just write!

things You Need to Know KitIf you need guidance to get started, we happen to have a kit for that.  😊 We created the Things You Need to Know Kit  just for YOU.  Go check it out.  We think it’s pretty awesome and will help you define your legacy stories.  It’s also very practical.

Everything, and we mean everything, your family will need when you’re gone is outlined in this kit.  Filling out this kit is also a lot of fun!  Take some time to celebrate your life accomplishments so far.  This kit can help you begin recording stories, traditions, and memories for your family.

When you start recording and preserving your stories, please come back here and tell us all about the experience.  Let’s build a community of encouraging, fun estate planning heroes who are here for each other!

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vintage style still life with bundle of old handwritten letters and a stone heart