Values First - Estate Planning with a Purpose

Create your Legacy

Sometimes the greatest gift of all, the one with the most value, is simply yourself.

What problems and challenges in life have shaped who you are today, and the way you make decisions? What are you most grateful for that you hope to pass down to future generations? The more your loved ones know about you, the more they will be able to embrace and respect your final wishes. A wonderful way to pass on to your circle of loved ones your guiding principles, ideals, beliefs, and other personal insights and reflections is to create a legacy statement. These are sometimes referred to as an ethical will, living letters, life stories or personal histories. It is a non-legally binding and unenforceable expression in your own words.

The bestselling book and award-winning movie The Ultimate Gift by renowned author Jim Stovall has started something very big. Every one of us has powerful gifts to share, and each day, the momentum grows and the impact widens, as The Ultimate Gift continues to inspire millions of others to share their gifts and change the world. 

Applying the 12 Gifts featured in the book, create a legacy statement that reveals your guiding principles, ideals, beliefs, and personal insights, morally as well as financially. It is possible to give without loving, but impossible to love without giving. The attitude of giving without loving motives or instructions undermines the gifts we leave to our beneficiaries or charities. Love not only prompts us to be generous in what we give but also to be responsible in why and how we give. Let these become a compass for creating your estate plan that serves as a celebration for life, clarifying what you want to do and why you want to do it. 

The following points reflect "Legacy Statement Do's": 

Outline your values: Express your hopes, dreams, and wishes for your circle of loved ones. Outline the beliefs and values that reflect your life and emphasize your desire to see that your heirs carry them into the future.

Reflect:Pass on your wisdom about life, success, struggles, relationships or investment strategies. Examples: share how you felt the day your children were born or tell them which of their accomplishments made you the most proud.

Express Love: Describe characteristics and traits you most valued in your loved ones and describe how these qualities have affected your life.

Clear the air: Are there experiences that seriously affected your loved ones in which you wish to make amends? Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your shortcomings, and ask for forgiveness.

Give thanks: Are there people in your life whom you wish to give thanks to and acknowledge specifically? A mentor who made a difference, a son or daughter who taught you a particularly wise lesson, a wife or husband who gave you unwavering support during a difficult period?

One way to record your legacy is to create a unique, beautiful, bound book that would be treasured for generations. To find out more about creating your legacy using a web-based tool and many more opportunities to preserve your heritage, go to: