You Don’t Have to Be Wealthy to Leave a Lasting Legacy

“How you treated other people—not your wealth or accomplishments—is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.”

– Rick Warren

All too often, people think of their legacy only in terms of their net worth.

That’s an unfortunate mistake. Every day, we leave a personal legacy through the way we live our lives and the impact we have on our family, friends, and community. How would you like to be remembered when you are called home? For your devotion to your faith? Your kindness to strangers? In this article, we have compiled some thoughtful ways that you can leave a remarkable legacy for future generations, even if you don’t have riches.

To leave something more meaningful than material wealth, consider writing a legacy letter.

Also known as an ethical will, a legacy letter is intended to bring comfort to your family while allowing you to reflect on your life’s meaning. Because it is not a legal document like your will or living will, it doesn’t need to be written in any particular way. Think of your legacy letter as a love letter to your family and friends. Tell them why you are writing the letter and what you hope they gain from it. Don’t hold back on communicating what matters most to you or expressing your emotions. This may feel like a very intimate exercise, but that’s the whole point. The sooner you begin your legacy letter, the more time you will have to reflect on and enjoy the family evangelism you will leave behind. Starting now also guarantees that you’ll complete the document. And don’t worry about grammar and spelling. What matters most is getting your thoughts and feelings down on paper.

Share some history.

Why not pass on photos, newspaper clippings, letters, and other cherished mementos via scrapbooks or albums? You could even leave a personal note inside for each of your loved ones. Digital printing allows you to easily and inexpensively create multiple copies so that each member of your family can have his or her own treasured keepsake.

Tell the story behind your bequests.

If you do have jewelry, antiques, art, or other possessions to pass on, leave a brief history with each piece and why it is important to you. For family heirlooms, explain how it was passed down from generation to generation. Sharing personal stories like these will make the items you leave behind cherished all the more.

Make amends with others.

At any time during your life, you have the opportunity to forgive those who have hurt you or to ask forgiveness from those whom you have wronged. Doing so will free up your conscience and give you a sense of peace in your soul. Try not to attack or blame the other person. The goal is to relieve yourself and that individual from holding onto past injuries. It’s a gift that is truly priceless.

Honor your legacy while you are living.

At the end of the day, our most indelible legacy is the way we live. Engage this life with gratitude, passion, and love. People will forget the details of your achievements, but the way you lived and loved will be etched in their hearts forever.

A legacy is not just what’s left when you’re gone.

It’s also what you give, create, and contribute while you are alive. Find your unique gifts and share them with the world.

Do you have questions about creating your personal legacy? The knowledgeable, compassionate funeral directors at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services are here to help. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services:
Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit

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