Frequently Asked Questions:
A Legacy Letter is a highly-focused document that translates your personal and family stories and values into life lessons that can inform and transform the younger and future generations. A younger person can also share what Legacy he or she has received from someone special in his or her life.
An individual’s stories are collected through recorded interviews, and are combined into a tailored document on beautiful acid-free archival paper or a soft or hard cover book. This letter or book is then passed down and enjoyed by family for years to come.Learn More!
- Allows you to express “the why,” often missing in legal and financial documents.
- People will understand who you really are. Your family gets to know you better as a person, and not just as a parent or grandparent.
- Critically links past to future generations in a way that only you can offer. You become the conduit between your ancestors and your descendants.
- Honors people that made a difference in your life, both living and those who have passed.
- Teaches survival skills to the younger generation, and how to overcome adversity when they face similar difficulties.
- It breathes life into significant events in history, and presents a way of life that no longer exists.
- Clarifies values and life purpose(s).
- Expresses gratitude, love, regrets, apologies and forgiveness. Deals with other unfinished business between and among family members or business colleagues. Makes sure nothing is left unsaid, or important memories forgotten- giving you peace of mind.
- Strengthens personal and professional relationships.
- Creates deeper family roots and understanding of one’s heritage for younger people.
- Health promotion/wellness tool —studies have shown that the act of writing and reminiscing has physical, spiritual and psychological benefits. It lowers blood pressure, arthritis pain and asthma symptoms, and boosts immune system. It also improves cognitive functioning, raises life-satisfaction, and decreases levels of depression and anxiety.
- The process is fulfilling and fun.
- It’s An Opportunity To Celebrate Life!
I would like to hire you to help me or someone special in my life write a Legacy Letter. What’s the next step?
The entire process is designed to be an enjoyable, and reflective experience. Your Legacy Letters will weave together everything you wanted to share with your loved one (s) or special person in your life, but have never done. It will be clearly written in “your voice,” and interesting to read now and in the future. You can then pass down this beautiful letter or book for your family to enjoy for years to come. This unique keepsake will become part of your legacy!
People have good intentions, but life gets in the way, and many people never start or complete their Legacy Letter.
Most people need the motivation, structure, prompting, and encouragement that a professional writer can provide to complete a Legacy Letter. Writers are non-judgmental, and have more practice in remaining non-emotional and supportive. Relatives conducting an interview may not want to hear some painful family stories or secrets, and may have difficulty remaining impartial and unemotional. The writer becomes an objective sounding board to help determine the ultimate positive content for your letter.
People are often more open and honest with a non-relative.
Professional writers are skilled at drawing out self-conscious or shy people, and help them feel comfortable talking about themselves. Professional writers can draw out more details, especially if the interviewee knows that the interviewer is hearing the story for the first time. More details can make stories more understandable, relevant and interesting.
- I am a successful freelance writer and author, with over thirty years of interviewing and writing experience.
- I have a successful track record of writing compelling, inspiring and accurate stories, books and Legacy Letters.
- I have written and consulted with diverse groups in nonprofit, business, and public sectors enabling me to write for many different audiences on diverse topics.
- Because of my social work and gerontology profession, coupled with my writing expertise, I am able to relate to people of different backgrounds, ages and disabilities. I have a special ability to bring out the very best stories and insights from your life or from you loved ones life.
- Versatility, creativity, flexibility and down-to-earth humor are my hallmark traits.
- I have a deep commitment to strengthening the nonprofit and philanthropic community, and offer strategic organizational thinking for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
- I have the national reputation of being an inspirational and entertaining speaker. Over the last 35 plus years, I have presented at hundreds of conferences and workshops across the nation. I provided training and consultation in more than thirty states on various topics such as retirement housing, aging-in-place, and corporate elder care. I also have extensive experience as a public speaker and trainer in organizational capacity building, fundraising, and board-development, in addition to my Legacy Letter workshops, retreats and presentations.
- I strongly agree with Mark Twain who said, “There is no such thing as an uninteresting life.” You may feel like your life is not that interesting, but the truth is you have unique, eye-opening, heart-pounding, gut-wrenching stories inside of you waiting to come out.
- I have a special gift to help you capture your personal and family stories and experiences and translate them into life lessons. I gently and caringly help you navigate through your memories and help you harvest your wisdom.
- I respect deadlines and often submit projects before due dates and never beyond.
- I am responsive, resourceful, conscientious, tenacious, and fun to work with.
- I will try to exceed your expectations. I’m not afraid to tackle challenging or unusual projects.
- I have a lifetime passion for strengthening the ties between generations that fuel my pioneering work.
I would like to offer a Legacy Letter presentation or training at work or for my group, what is the next step?
To show love and appreciation and to celebrate peoples’ lives at birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, mother’s day, father’s day, family reunions, graduations, retirement, bat mitzvahs, weddings, and births.
To establish a common base of values.
Expectant and new parents
It’s been said that children don’t come with a “user’s manual.” A Legacy Letter at this stage will provide a foundation of common values upon which to approach child rearing. In addition, a Legacy Letter can help in conflict resolution by increasing the understanding of each other’s important values.
Teaching values to our children, improving communication, especially with teens.
To provide security and reassurance for children of a divorce and decrease the blame factor, making the divorce less hostile.
To provide the opportunity to launch adult children and enter into a new relationship phase.
Middle age and beyond
To harvest life experiences into wisdom, and fulfilling the responsibility of passing this wisdom to future generations, clarifying your goals and vision for gifts/donations, estate plan and will.
Approaching the end of life and preplanning
To address our transcendent dimension — that we are part of something larger than ourselves and transmit a message of hope to future generations. To prepare before surgery, after a diagnosis, treatment or in hospice. Before enlisting or deployment.
A younger person
Can write a Legacy Letter to an older relative, beloved friend, or teacher and share what legacy was received from that person.
* Based on Barry Baines
- Holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Christmas, Hanukah or Valentine’s Day
- Special anniversary or birthday
- Before, during or after a family reunion
- When engaged or newly married
- Birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
- Empty-nest period
- Retirement or career change
- Move to an assisted living, retirement community or nursing home
- Facing an illness or major surgery or completing treatment
- People at the end of life
- When completing or revising your will or estate plan
- Any other new chapters in your life
- Now, because life is fragile and unpredictable.