The holiday season is upon us, and while this year’s celebrations and gatherings may be limited, we hope you are still able to enjoy the holidays safely with your loved ones. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sharing traditions, memories, and family stories with those around you may be more important this year than ever before.
Many people gain a sense of peace by putting together a “legacy box,” to help their children, loved ones, or personal representative navigate life after they are gone. This legacy box can be a shoebox, file, drawer, or notebook and can contain documents and other meaningful items. Below are items commonly included, to help you get started on your own legacy box.
- Formal, legal documents such as a last will and testament, living will, revocable trust, healthcare power of attorney, and/or financial power of attorney.
- Important contacts list, including your attorney, financial advisor, accountant, doctor, banker, veterinarian, funeral director, religious clergy, close friends, etc.
- Letter of Intent to explain your estate plan in your own words (e.g., why property is left to one person and not another or why property will be transferred to a trust), and to outline your funeral or memorial preferences.
- Passwords or information about online accounts and digital assets. Common examples include passwords or instructions to access a computer and/or phone, online portals for utility payments, family photos, text messages, social media profiles, airline miles, online game points, computer software, client or patient records, and encrypted documents.
- A sentimental message or letter to loved ones, which may include hopes for family legacy or wishes regarding family values.
- Special keepsake items or family heirlooms you wish to pass on to heirs. This could be a valuable object or special family photos and letters.
This year, passing down traditions and memories with family and friends (even if done over Zoom or FaceTime) will help to provide comfort and reinforce family ties, strengthening your legacy for the future. Gathering the above information and keeping it in a safe place can give your family the enormous gift of knowing how to proceed after you are gone while bringing peace of mind to you right now.
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