How to Write a Legacy Letter: Advice for Leaving Behind a Personalized Letter of Wisdom

How to Write a Legacy Letter: Advice for Leaving Behind a Personalized Letter of Wisdom

Have you ever thought about what you would leave behind for your loved ones after you’re gone? A legacy letter, also known as an ethical will or a personal legacy statement, is a way to share your values, beliefs, and life lessons with future generations.

What is a Legacy Letter?

A legacy letter is a personalized letter that is written to your loved ones, typically addressed to your children, grandchildren, or other family members. It’s a way to pass down your wisdom, values, and life lessons to future generations, and to leave a lasting legacy of who you are and what you stand for.

A legacy letter is not a legal document, but rather a heartfelt expression of your hopes, dreams, and wishes for your loved ones. It can be written at any time in your life, and can be updated as often as you like.

Why Write a Legacy Letter?

There are many reasons why you might want to write a legacy letter. Perhaps you want to pass down family traditions, share your life story, or offer advice and guidance to your loved ones.

Writing a legacy letter can also be a way to process your own life experiences and reflect on what matters most to you. It can be a therapeutic and meaningful experience that helps you connect with your own values and beliefs.

Ultimately, a legacy letter is a way to leave behind a piece of yourself for future generations, and to ensure that your legacy lives on.

Step 1: Reflection

Before you start writing your legacy letter, it’s important to take some time to reflect on your life. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your letter is a true reflection of your values, accomplishments, and life experiences. Here are some things to consider:

Think About Your Values

What are the most important things in your life? What values do you hold dear? Consider what has guided your decisions and actions throughout your life. Your legacy letter is an opportunity to share these values with your loved ones and leave behind a lasting message about what you believe in.

Consider Your Accomplishments

Think about the things you have achieved throughout your life. What are you most proud of? What challenges have you overcome? Your legacy letter is a chance to share your accomplishments with your loved ones and inspire them to pursue their own goals and dreams.

Reflect on Your Life

Take some time to reflect on your life as a whole. What have been the defining moments? What have you learned from your experiences? Reflecting on your life can help you put things into perspective and gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your place in the world.

By taking the time to reflect on your life, values, and accomplishments, you’ll be better prepared to write a legacy letter that truly reflects who you are and what you stand for.

Step 2: Choose Your Format

Once you have decided on the content of your legacy letter, the next step is to choose the format that best suits your needs. There are several options to consider, including:

1. Traditional Letter

A traditional letter is the most common format for a legacy letter. It is a handwritten or typed letter that can be kept with other important documents and passed down to future generations. A traditional letter is a great option if you want to convey your message in a personal and heartfelt way. You can also include photographs, mementos, or other items that hold special meaning to you.

2. Audio or Video Recording

If you prefer to speak your message rather than write it down, an audio or video recording may be the best option. With today’s technology, it is easy to record a message that can be saved and shared with loved ones. An audio or video recording allows you to convey your emotions and tone of voice, which can add depth and meaning to your message.

3. Scrapbook or Photo Album

If you are a visual person, a scrapbook or photo album may be the best option for you. You can include photographs, artwork, and other mementos that tell the story of your life. A scrapbook or photo album is a great way to share your memories and experiences with future generations.

Format Pros Cons
Traditional Letter Personal and heartfelt May be difficult to read or understand
Audio or Video Recording Conveys emotions and tone of voice May require technology skills
Scrapbook or Photo Album Visual representation of your life May be time-consuming to create

Consider your personal preferences and the needs of your loved ones when choosing the format for your legacy letter. Remember, the goal is to create a message that will be cherished and remembered for years to come.

Step 3: Decide on Your Message

Now that you have gathered your thoughts and considered the purpose of your legacy letter, it’s time to decide on your message. This is the heart of your letter and will determine how it will be received by your audience.

What Do You Want to Say?

Think about what you want to communicate in your legacy letter. Do you want to share your life story or impart wisdom and advice to your loved ones? Perhaps you want to express your gratitude or apologize for past mistakes. Whatever it is, make sure your message is clear and concise.

Who is Your Audience?

Consider who will be reading your legacy letter. Is it intended for your spouse, children, or grandchildren? Will it be shared with extended family members or close friends? Knowing your audience will help you tailor your message to their specific needs and interests.

How Personal Should You Get?

Deciding how personal to get in your legacy letter can be a difficult decision. While you may want to be open and honest, you also want to be mindful of your audience’s feelings. Consider how much information you want to share and how it may impact your loved ones. It’s okay to be vulnerable, but make sure you are doing so in a way that is respectful and caring.

Once you have decided on your message, take some time to organize your thoughts and create an outline for your letter. This will help ensure that your message is clear and easy to follow.

Step 4: Start Writing

Now that you have a clear understanding of what a legacy letter is and why it is important, it’s time to start writing one. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Choose Your Opening

Think about what tone you want to set for your letter. Do you want to start with a funny story or a heartfelt memory? Your opening should grab the reader’s attention and set the stage for the rest of your letter.

Include Your Reflections

Share your thoughts and feelings about your life experiences. What have you learned? What do you wish you had done differently? Reflecting on your life can help you gain perspective and give your letter a deeper meaning.

Share Your Wisdom and Advice

Think about the lessons you’ve learned over the years and the advice you would give to future generations. What do you want your loved ones to know? Sharing your wisdom and advice can help guide your loved ones through life’s challenges.

Express Your Gratitude and Love

Take time to express your gratitude and love for the people in your life. Let them know how much they mean to you and how grateful you are for their presence in your life.

Close with a Meaningful Message

Your closing should leave a lasting impression on your reader. What message do you want to leave behind? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Your closing should be meaningful and heartfelt.

Remember, your legacy letter is a personal and intimate document. Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just write from the heart and let your words flow. Your loved ones will cherish your letter for years to come.

Step 5: Review and Revise

After completing your legacy letter, it’s important to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes. This will help you catch any errors or areas that may need improvement. Here are some tips for reviewing and revising your letter:

Take a Break

Set your letter aside for a few hours or even a day or two. When you come back to it, you’ll be able to read it with a clearer mind and more objective perspective. This will help you identify any areas that need improvement.

Read it Aloud

Reading your letter aloud can help you catch errors and awkward phrasing. It can also help you identify areas that may need more clarity or detail. This is also a good time to check for tone and ensure that your message is coming across as intended.

Get Feedback

Ask someone you trust to read your letter and provide feedback. This could be a family member, friend, or even a professional editor. Getting an outside perspective can help you identify areas that may need improvement and ensure that your message is clear and effective.

Remember, your legacy letter is a personal and important document. Take the time to review and revise it to ensure that your message is clear, effective, and reflective of your true self.


Writing a legacy letter is a powerful way to share your wisdom, values, and life lessons with your loved ones. It’s a chance to leave behind a lasting legacy and make a positive impact on future generations.

As you embark on the process of writing your legacy letter, remember to take your time and reflect on your life experiences. Think about the lessons you’ve learned, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the values that have guided you throughout your life.

When it comes to actually writing your letter, there are no hard and fast rules. You can structure it however you like, and include whatever content feels most important to you. Some people choose to focus on practical advice, while others prefer to share personal stories and memories.

Whatever approach you take, remember that the most important thing is to be authentic and true to yourself. Your legacy letter is a reflection of who you are and what you stand for, and it should be written in your own voice.

Finally, don’t forget to share your legacy letter with your loved ones. Whether you choose to read it aloud to them, or leave it as a written document, your legacy letter has the power to inspire and guide future generations.

  • Reflect on your life experiences
  • Be authentic and true to yourself
  • Share your legacy letter with your loved ones

Remember, your legacy letter is a gift to your loved ones that will be cherished for years to come. Take the time to craft a letter that truly reflects who you are, and know that your words will have a lasting impact on those who receive them.

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