When you hear the term “estate planning” mentioned you are probably going to associate the exercise with the creation of documents like wills and trusts that are intended to facilitate the transfer of financial assets to your loved ones after you pass away. Without question this is a large part of what estate planning entails, but there can be considerably more to it than that.
In the broader sense estate planning has something to do with saying goodbye to your loved ones and doing everything possible to provide support that they can draw from once you are gone. This is easy enough to do financially, but when it comes to sharing wisdom and providing guidance and advice your absence will be profoundly felt. While you can’t live forever, one thing that you can do is leave behind a chronicle of your life that your loved ones can learn from in the form of your written memoirs.
Many people find it difficult to communicate their innermost thoughts and feelings with their family members throughout their lives. The fact is that we are required to play certain roles and adopt different personae as we interact with different people in the family. For this reason you can sometimes get the sense that they don know the “real you.” For example, it might be very difficult for your grandchildren to imagine what it must have been like for you as a child and how you may have perceived the world around you.
When you share your memoirs with your family as part of your estate you provide them with a window into your mind that can be beneficial on many different levels. Reading the memoirs of a loved one can be instructive, informative, and downright entertaining. And in addition to providing a special parting gift to your family members, you as the author may benefit from the experience of recounting meaningful memories at a time when you are taking stock of your life’s journey.