A 2021 Complete Guide To Creating A Worthy Legacy For Your Children

Preserving Memories To Help Support & Bring Comfort To Your Children

As you come to terms with the fact that death is near, the emotional burdens you endure can be overwhelming and exhausting. You may be feeling isolated, anxious, depressed, afraid, regretful, or perhaps you are contemplating the meaning of life itself. Through these emotions, you may choose to empower yourself through learning about how you want to be remembered and how you can help your children, even when you are gone.

One of your likely concerns is the urge to leave a meaningful, cherished, and practical family legacy. Leaving a legacy to your family by preserving memories and supporting your children after you pass will allow you to find comfort in such a tumultuous time.

This guide will aid you in figuring out precisely what you need to leave behind your best legacy

You will find ideas fit for you, which will further guide your children throughout their lives despite your passing. Find peace and acceptance in knowing that your children will be in a stable place and set up for a lifetime of success and love.

What Is The Meaning Behind A Legacy?

A legacy is what you leave behind when you are gone. This may include tangible or financial items such as legacy in a will. Or it may be something intangible such as a gift that possesses sentimental qualities like personalized memorial keepsake jewelry. Both financial legacies and intangible sentimental legacies are of importance and we will look at them both below.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR FINANCIAL LEGACY

A financial legacy, often referred to as a bequest, consists of finances or property that you leave behind. This may include an inheritance for children, other family members, or even charities. However you decide to bequeath your loved ones, it is important to plan accordingly, preferably with a financial adviser's assistance. 

Financial planners help organize details, so you only need to focus on what you want to leave behind. Your legacy to your children will encourage them to prosper as they reach critical benchmarks in their lives.

You can also alleviate tax issues to ensure there are no financial burdens or disputes to handle as they inherit finances or property.

Property, wealth, and other belongings are transferred to your next of kin when you pass or otherwise outlined in your will. If this process is not specified, it may be controlled against your wishes. For those who own businesses that demand maintenance, it is critical to consult with a financial advisor and indicate how you wish your business or other assets are operated.

What Is It Like Working With A Financial Advisor?

It is highly recommended to seek a financial advisor to help you with your affairs. An advisor will meet with you alone or with you and the next of kin to review exactly how to proceed with securing a financial future for your loved ones.

Let your financial expert handle foreseeing any legal concerns or creditors, assist with donations, organize planning around your taxable assets, and provide other essential advice. These specialists are there to support you in crafting and protecting your ideal financial legacy.

How Do You Shape Your Financial Legacy?

There are several factors to consider when it comes to shaping your financial legacy for your children. A financial advisor can help you navigate those decisions.

Personal Belongings

Personal items can be directed to specific family members. Consider which items may possess monetary value as you make a list of whom will receive what. The clearer you are in your directions, the less stress your loved ones will go through as they divide up your personal belongings.

Family Home

Just as you want to be clear with your personal belongings and how they are distributed, be sure to notify your family of how to handle your family home. When people experience the loss of a loved one, the home can act as a source for conflict as emotions are high. To avoid further emotional difficulties upon your loved ones, make sure there is clarity in your legacy as they sort out these affairs.

Other Properties

Properties such as vacation homes or second homes make for a beneficial inheritance because they allow for more financial security and options for your children. If you choose this route, consider a trust or a family limited partnership to ease the transfer process and lessen estate taxes.

A trust allows someone to hold certain assets on behalf of a given beneficiary. They are mainly used as a way to decrease estate taxes. Other benefits will include:

  • Taking control of your assets
  • Providing more financial security for your beneficiaries
  • Privacy

There are many different types of trusts, some of which include charitable, marital, credit shelter, generation skipping, and irrevocable trusts. Speak with a financial planner as to which type of trust may be best for you.

Beneficiary For An IRA Or Annuity

You may wish to name your child as a beneficiary for an annuity or set up a beneficiary Individual Retirement Account (IRA). This will allow for your child to receive financial payments over time. These options may be more fitting for younger children.

Speak with your financial planner as to which avenue may be best suitable for you and your family while considering taxes, your children's age, and the number of beneficiaries desired.

As of 2019, the required minimum distributions (RMDs) increased to the age of 72. This means that if you're still employed after the age of 70 ½, you may now make IRA contributions. Another option is to use the excess of these accounts to create a second-to-death life insurance policy. This type of policy is paid out when another spouse dies.

Give To Charitable Foundations

One of the ways you can truly make an impact through your financial legacy is by donating depreciating stock to charities. This will support your chosen cause and lower estate taxes.

You may also indicate that you wish to donate a certain amount of money to a foundation, charity, or program that advises ongoing payments to various organizations.

Like gifting depreciating stock to foundations, this is another way to live on after you pass away through investing in a worthy cause you are passionate about. 

This may be conducted through any of the above financial legacy options. For instance, if you opt to create an annuity, the recipient may receive payments, then when they pass, a charity or another recipient could receive the funds.

Charitable bequests allow for flexibility, honorary acknowledgment, tax benefits, and clarity to your financial legacy.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR INTANGIBLE & SENTIMENTAL LEGACY

An overall legacy is not solely comprised of financial inheritances. Intangible legacies, like memories and experiences, can be captured for your children to treasure for the rest of their lives. Sentimental aspects of your gifts are invaluable.

Find comfort and peace knowing that not only will your family be financially secure through thorough monetary planning, but also that they will remember you at each milestone of their lives as if you were right there with them.

This holistic approach to your legacy may entail acts of service such as cleaning your home before you pass away and setting your affairs in order with clear directives. It can include homemade gifts such as a book of family recipes, family tree, time capsule, scrapbook, or video recording.

Memorial keepsake jewelry such as fingerprint jewelry, photo engraved memorial jewelry, etched memorial jewelry, or other customized remembrance gifts can become longstanding family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.

Why Is Leaving An Intangible Legacy Important?

When you are dying, leaving a legacy to your children is more important than ever. The loss of a loved one surfaces many unpredictable emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Because of the grief that is struck onto a family, a father, mother, or grandparent's legacy allows children to cope with the pain and find comfort in their loved one's mark on the world.

Legacy examples such as remembrance gifts allow your family to celebrate your life and memories. Interview style documentaries preserve essential family history, stories, and memories. Legacy gifts that use ashes to make jewelry can become heirlooms to be passed down to future generations.

Ultimately, leaving a legacy to your family will keep your most cherished values alive even when you are gone.

11 Unique & Personal Ways To Leave A Family Legacy In 2021

The options are endless when it comes to leaving a family legacy and every families personal and financial situations are different. Whether you elect to leave a financial legacy or an intangible legacy or even a mix of the two, the options are endless. Here are some that are ideal for most every family.

1. RECORD A VIDEO OR VOICE RECORDING

When your loved ones hear your voice or see your face, it can foster a sense of joy and pride. Allow for your children to hang on to these memories of you through storytelling or recording messages. Think of how you wish your family to experience you when you pass on.

This could be through a documentary-style interview, individual private recordings tailored to each family member, a slideshow with voice-over documentation and music, or anything in between. They will be played on special occasions and can inspire others to do the same as they face their own passing on.

Your recording can be carried on through generations to remind current and future family members where they came from, what you valued in life, and what you seek to instill into them.

Making this type of legacy does not need to be a difficult venture. If you need to do something simple, all you require is a smartphone and someone to assist you. Think of a few answers to questions, experiences, or memories you wish to showcase for the video or voice memo and get started. When a thought pops up in your mind, take out your phone and record a voice note or write it down on a piece of paper to make sure you capture everything you wish.

Lastly, be sure to forgive yourself in advance. You may not remember everything you wish to incorporate, which can be highly frustrating. But know that with each word you speak, a smile you make, and unique mannerisms you do, your family will cherish every minute of it.

2. WRITE ENCOURAGING LETTERS TO YOUR CHILDREN FOR MILESTONES YOU'LL MISS

Never underestimate the power of handwritten letters. They are personal, show your love and commitment to your children's growth, and are entirely irreplaceable. Imagine that as your children reach the crucial benchmarks of their lives, they can read a handwritten letter from their parent to show them support and pride. 

Milestones may include happy events such as getting married, having children of their own, landing their dream job, graduating from school, or purchasing their first home. They could also be complex challenges like divorce, the death of another loved one, or a drug or alcohol relapse.

Children turn to their parents in both these happy and upsetting moments of life. They won't have to miss out on your support if you write these letters to help them along the way.

Consider taking it a step further and create a journal full of letters or diary entries to maintain your legacy for when you pass. You can combine these with your personal letters to each child or create a separate family book with everything you wish to leave behind. You may want to present the book chronologically or categorize it by family member or experience. Make it your own and live on even when you're gone.

3. CREATE A SPECIAL SCRAPBOOK FOR YOUR CHILDREN FULL OF PICTURES & MEMORIES

This idea will get your creative juices flowing. You can do anything with a scrapbook. Make it clean and simple, add your favorite colors, or incorporate your artistic flair into it. Scrapbooking your legacy is about truly making a gift unique to you.

Here are some things to keep in mind when putting together a scrapbook legacy for your family.

Choose whether you want a physical or digital scrapbook. Physical scrapbooks may be best for those who want to work with their hands. Consider digital scrapbooks if you wish to create copies easily and send them through email or social media. Virtual scrapbooks could also display as a section of a legacy website.

Write down a timeline of your life in list form. Use this to create categories as the foundation for your legacy memorabilia. These categories could be by decade, life moments, locations, or other historical stages.

Look for documents related to those categories. Then, take out those old diaries, notebooks, or sketchbooks from the attic or garage. Search for public or personal records such as newspaper clippings or old ticket stubs. Think outside of the box and use maps of your favorite places you've visited to inspire your family to do the same after you pass.

Gather family photos.  Ask your loved ones to help you find photos. An easy way to accumulate digital images is through a platform such as Shutterfly or Google Photos. You can share access with anyone who wishes to contribute ideas to one place, making it easy for you to choose which pictures fit perfectly for your legacy scrapbook.

Make a list of everyone you want to incorporate into the book. This will help you remember not to leave anyone out and make something you can be pleased with to leave behind.

4. HAVE YOUR FINGERPRINTS ENGRAVED ONTO A PIECE OF REMEMBRANCE JEWELRY

Your children will carry memories of you wherever they go. A fingerprint engraved jewelry piece can exemplify your spirit with them at all times. Artists from Everlasting Memories can turn high quality, smudged, or lighter fingerprint images into a one of a kind gift to keep your legacy alive.

Each fingerprint is distinctive, just as your values, qualities, and quirks shape who you are. Everlasting Memories only uses the finest quality materials so your family can not just cherish the piece for their lifetime but also so they can transform it into a family heirloom that will last forever.

From necklaces and bracelets to other items, there are plenty of remembrance gifts to choose from for both men and women. Find pieces that hold cremains or turn ashes to jewelry.

Discover this exceptional 14k gold pendant or select specialized birthstone pieces. Further customize your etched memorial jewelry by adding your signature. If jewelry is not your thing, you can find a variety of other offerings for your children that will incorporate your fingerprints, such as coins, money clips, or knives.

There is a gift for all your children to hold on to and feel ever closer to your heart. Start by looking at this Sterling Small Oval and Ash Fingerprint Pendant. For more ideas to incorporate ashes made into jewelry, check out our Ultimate Guide To Ashes Into Jewelry.

5. MAKE A FAMILY TIME CAPSULE

When you are dying, the fear of missing out on the most notable moments of your children's lives is apparent. Allow your children to celebrate with you still through your legacy as they open a family time capsule. The beauty in this legacy idea is that you may use it as an opportunity to spend time together as a family as you create another fun memory on this legacy project.

Legacy planning can bring about some of the most cherished recollections of your and your family's lives. It can be honored as another experience with your loved ones to bring everyone some relief and compassion.

A legacy time capsule could include anything you wish that can be preserved. Gather the following items to incorporate:

  • Collectible items or favorite items from 2021
  • Documents from over the years, such as old letters or records
  • Locks of hair
  • Family recipes, ticket stubs and clippings from a magazine or newspaper
  • Artwork, school assignments or dried flowers
  • Photos, encouraging letters or letters to a future self
  • Predictions for the future, responses to silly questions for a future laugh
  • Anything else that you'd like!

The possibilities are endless. Instead of bequeathing heirlooms directly, you can preserve them in the time capsule for your children to open in the future. It makes for a novel and entertaining legacy plan.

Getting Your Time Capsule Ready

Be sure to know which items will preserve well and which items may not. Delicate clothing may not hold well over time. Food and electronics are also not easy to maintain.

Instead of burying your family legacy to be dug up at a later date, put your items into a secure box and store them in a cold and shaded area for maximum preservation. For more information on how to ensure your time capsule selections maintain safely and with care, look at these suggestions.

Lastly, add directions for your family to follow as they open it. When, where, and who should be present? Think of fun details that will make for a momentous occasion like music suggestions as your loved ones open your legacy gift. Through a time capsule, you will ensure your family legacy lives on through the years to come, even when you're gone.

6. CREATE A FUN FAMILY TREE

What better way to gift your loved ones a father's or mother's legacy than through taking them back in time to see where they come from? This way to honor your heritage and your family will incorporate those who had a hand in bringing together your family as it exists today. If you want an easy yet memorable family tree, search online for a template. Or, for you creative types, make something special from scratch.

Suppose you love the idea of leaving behind a gift that honors your family culture, but even with an online template, an entire family tree seems like a lot of work. If you fall into this category, review these helpful steps to get you started.

Start by compiling a list of what you already know about your family tree.  Find and write down as many of the following as you can: birth dates and locations, death dates and locations, marriage dates and locations, and all other dates of importance. When you have exhausted what you know, ask your family for more information if possible.

Decide if you want to include pets, lost pregnancies, health data, and other information.  Research public records like census and courthouse data. Look into genealogy websites, online or in person library resources, and other organizations such as historical societies. You may be surprised at what you can find through these accessible sources.

When the information is gathered, put together the family tree with photos and names where possible.  Finally, make it your own. Personalize your family tree however you would like. Perhaps you wish to incorporate a family motto or a list of values that you hold dear to your heart. Any which way you go about it will surely make your family proud.

7. OFFER YOUR FAMILY CUSTOMIZED PHOTO ENGRAVED JEWELRY

Similar to a personalized fingerprint gift, you may also opt for a photo engraved piece. Select an image that captures how you wish to live on and have it etched into a sturdy, long lasting, and exclusive pendant.

Everlasting Memories gives you the option to find the most suitable gifts for your children through selections based on men's or women's styles, child sizes, birthstones, keychains, beaded pendants, necklaces, bracelets, pendants to hold cremains, and much more.

Start by look at this gorgeous Large Thick Photo Engraved Dog Tag or find your perfect match here. Share the gift of memory captured by an exquisite, personalized pendant.

For comprehensive resources on photo engraved remembrance jewelry review this Choosing The Perfect Photo Engraved Jewelry Buying Guide and Personalized Memorial Gifts To Share With Family & Friends.

8. COMPILE FAMILY RECIPES & TRADITIONS TO PASS ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS

Though your children may know bits and pieces of old traditions and family recipes, they may forget them over time or misplace them if written down on flimsy paper. Compiling these sentimental and practical keepsakes will allow you to live on through every holiday gathering, graduation celebration, or Sunday night dinner.

A great way to go about this legacy task is by taking notes on a computer. This way, no one will question messy handwriting, water smears will not ruin the finished product, and since it is online, it will be easy to preserve and replicate for countless family members to honor you by.

9. LEAVE FINANCIAL ASSETS TO YOUR CHILDREN

Properties, businesses, and gifts of money are more traditional concepts of leaving a legacy. And although some may view them as less sentimental, there is much emotional value in a home. Plus, the idea that your children will continue building their own life through your financial assistance brings some comfort as you pass on.

Personal belongings, high value collectible items, family homes, other properties, beneficiary IRAs, and annuities are all fantastic ways to ensure your children's financial security even when you are gone.

10. BECOME A MENTOR

Doing good makes you feel good. You could share essential skills and mentor family members, young kids, or adults who wish to either follow in your footsteps professionally or simply need life advice.

Mentoring comes in many forms. You may seek assistance from an organization that has a structured framework of mentorship. Or perhaps you wish to choose someone on your own who will benefit from your guidance and leadership. However you may choose to include mentorship into your legacy, one thing is certain: The people you mentor will never forget the impact you had on their lives.

11. SUPPORT CAUSES IN THE COMMUNITY

Donating directly, incorporating a bequest to a favorite charity in honor of your family, or investing in a scholarship or grant in your family's name are all inspiring efforts to leave a positive impact on the world.

Donating to a worthy cause is a way to allow your legacy to transcend into the wider community. Not only will your charitable donation support the cause you believe in, but you will further impact your personal legacy by showing your children the importance of helping others.

Your children will rediscover and share your compassion by witnessing these types of contributions. It will swell them with pride to call you their parent. 

Before thinking that you may not have enough to give, consider the reality that every dollar counts. No amount is too small to give to those in need or to organizations doing good work for the world. If you cannot donate money directly, another way to support a cause you are passionate about is by requesting that your family volunteers at a particular organization. Who knows, maybe their volunteer experience will spark that same passion in them.

How Should You Go About Selecting A Charity?

If you do not already know which charity you wish to incorporate into your legacy, there are ways to go about selecting the most suitable one for you. Associations related to humanitarian efforts, the arts, animal welfare, medicine, community centers, environmental causes, education, or religious entities are all options to select from.

Consider which type of charity you wish to choose from and then conduct research online. You may also browse through this expansive list here.

Alternatively, you may select to contribute to a donor-advised foundation. These foundations handle your charitable legacy for you to sustain contributions over time.

Through a time capsule, you will ensure your family legacy lives on through the years to come, even when you're gone.

How Can I Be Sure My Wishes Are Honored?

As with all other aspects of your legacy, make sure to indicate clear instructions for your philanthropic pursuits. This is the best way to ensure your wishes are honored precisely. It will help to reach out to the charity of your choice and inform them of the contribution.

By doing so, you'll make sure they can accept it and potentially offer you an opportunity to have a say in how the money is used. Discuss these specifics with your financial advisor, lawyer, and anyone else involved in your legacy planning. This consultation is especially important to avoid any issues after you pass away.

A legacy that gives back to the community embodies giving at its highest level. Consider passing on a small or large amount to a charity to live on through the power of giving back.

Who Can I Leave A Legacy For?

Your legacy is just that: your own. That means you can choose anyone you wish to leave your legacy, including your children, siblings, parents, close friends, or other loved ones. Think about who you want to include and exactly how.

If you wish to provide your children with finances and properties but still desire to leave a legacy to your close friends, consider one of the sentimental legacy gifts such as this Jeweled Heart Key Photo Engraved Pendant from Everlasting Memories.

As a company that knows what it means to experience grief, Everlasting Memories puts heart and soul into each custom piece because you and your family deserve comfort, peace, and an honorable legacy that will last forever.

Leaving A Legacy Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about how to leave a legacy for our loved ones and children.

What is the best way to leave a legacy?

The best way to leave a legacy is through listening to your heart. However you wish to leave your footprint on the world is how you should go about it. Do not be too concerned with what a conventional legacy consists of or doing it the "right" way. Follow your own path, and you will receive the most comfort in knowing your legacy will last just as you want it to.

Do you have to be dead to leave a legacy?

No. In fact, think about everything you have accomplished in your life so far. You have already begun building your legacy. When you are dying, you can figure out how you want to control the rest of it.

What is a great legacy?

A great legacy is memorable, lasting, and one that provides comfort to you and your loved ones. It allows you to live on through your gifts to your children and other beloved individuals, and of course, the community that made you who you are today. A great legacy is simply that you were remembered in a way that you wish to be remembered.

What is an example of a legacy?

Numerous examples may encompass a legacy. Here is a brief summary of one potential legacy to paint a picture of how one is remembered.

She has set up her children for the most financial security she could possibly give by gifting her assets. Her family enjoyed spending time with her, even near the end of her life, when they created a stunning visual presentation of her life stories and invaluable lessons. Her choice in legacy illustrated her caring heart and creative mindset that sparked even the most unimaginative minds with wonder. She cared about her children, husband, grandchildren, and her community.

How do I choose an organization to leave a legacy with?

For a comprehensive list of charitable donations, search here. If you wish to inform yourself on how exactly your contribution would be used, seek your selected charity on the following platforms:

What happens if you do not leave a legacy?

If you do not leave a legacy, your assets will likely not be handled as you wish them to be. A lack of clarity around your dying wishes may cause confusion, frustrations, and guilt among your loved ones. When considering your intangible legacy, you may miss out on an opportunity to put that final stamp on the world.

When you are dying, emotions may move you to question your legacy through an existential lens. Does it really matter what I leave behind? What is the meaning of life after death, and how does my legacy fit into that?

If you're experiencing these questions, know that it's completely normal to search for and even dwell on the meaning of life. However, think about your children and how much it would mean to provide as much comfort, peace, and memories to last them a lifetime and beyond.

Do I need to be of a certain age to have my own legacy plans?

When you're dying at a younger age, it can be particularly challenging to accept death. This should not restrict you from determining what is best for you to leave behind to your friends and family. Since 2020, the number of younger adults who have planned their legacy as a will has increased by 63%. In 2021, younger adults are more likely than middle aged individuals to possess wills. So, in short, no, you do not need to be of any particular age to plan on what you wish to leave behind.

Your younger children would likely benefit from a financial legacy that incorporates payments over time, such as a beneficiary IRA. For your legacy's sentimental aspect, consider a family night where you and your kids work on your legacy projects such as a family tree or piece of artwork.

How will COVID-19 affect my ability to plan my legacy?

Though the pandemic has thrown a wrench in plans surround the loss of loved ones, the world has started to adapt to these changes. Virtual connections are accessible for family members all over the world. Do not let COVID-19 stop you from making your legacy precisely how you desire it to be.

You can plan video calls with your children regarding a creative legacy project. Look into websites that allow you to work collaboratively with your family members in a virtual setting. For instance, PicMonkey allows for teamwork on designs. As for your financial legacy, lawyers and other advisors are available to discuss estate planning and other components online through video calls.

Instead of drowning in an overwhelming and fast changing world in the midst of a pandemic, prove your perseverance as part of your legacy by creating something beautiful, even in times like these.

Moving Forward With Leaving Your Legacy In 2021

After reviewing this complete guide to creating your worthy and lasting legacy, it is time to take a step forward. Remember that your own legacy's meaning will manifest itself into something powerful, supportive, and treasured among your children. It may take some time to know how to proceed, so keep this information on legacy examples.

When an idea crosses your mind on how you want to mark your personal stamp on the world, find out which avenue is best for you. Whether you choose to proceed with a legacy in a will, or present your loved ones with an etched memorial jewelry gift, your legacy will be your own treasure to share with your community as you move on.

For more information on one of a kind legacy gifts and educational tools on navigating the loss of a loved one, visit evrmemories.com.

April 8, 2021 by Frances Kay