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A Note from the Grave: Personalizing Your Legacy with Thoughtful Intentions

A Note From The Grave

As a financial planner specializing in retirement planning for the over 50s, I’ve spent more than three decades helping individuals prepare for a future that balances health, wealth, and happiness.

Today, I want to discuss a unique approach to estate planning that goes beyond mere numbers and asset distribution—a concept that could significantly impact the emotional and financial well-being of your loved ones.

I call this approach 'A Note from the Grave.'

The Importance of Personal Touch in Estate Planning

Estate planning often focuses on the distribution of assets through wills and trusts, typically listing who gets what and how much.

While this is undoubtedly important, it can sometimes feel impersonal and strictly transactional.

By incorporating a personalized letter to each beneficiary, explaining the reasons behind your choices and sharing your hopes for how the assets will be used, you transform your will into a more meaningful and heartfelt message from beyond.

What is 'A Note from the Grave'?

'A Note from the Grave' is essentially a heartfelt letter included in your estate planning documents.

This letter addresses each beneficiary specifically, explaining not just what they are receiving, but why they are receiving it.

The idea is to infuse your estate planning with personal sentiments, wisdom, and perhaps even life lessons that can guide your loved ones after you're gone.

Here are some reasons why incorporating such a note can be beneficial:

  1. Clarifies Your Intentions: It helps mitigate potential misunderstandings or disputes over why certain assets were distributed in particular ways.

  2. Offers Comfort: In a time of loss, receiving a message filled with love and reasoning from the deceased can provide immense comfort and closure.

  3. Guides Future Generations: By offering advice on how to use the inheritance wisely, you can continue to influence and guide your loved ones’ financial decisions and life choices.

How to Write Your 'Note from the Grave'

Writing a note that conveys your feelings and wishes clearly and effectively requires thought and sensitivity.

Here are some tips to help you craft meaningful messages:

  • Be Sincere: Start from a place of love and sincerity. Let your beneficiaries know how much they mean to you and recall shared memories or traits you admire in them.

  • Explain Your Choices: Share the reasons behind the distribution of assets. For instance, you might leave your business to a family member who shares your passion for entrepreneurship, explaining your hope that they will continue your legacy.

  • Provide Guidance, Not Restrictions: While you might have hopes for how the inheritance will be used, such as funding education or starting a business, express these as wishes rather than enforceable conditions.

  • Share Financial Wisdom: Use this opportunity to pass on valuable financial advice or lessons you’ve learned. Perhaps recommend patience with investments or caution against unnecessary debt.

  • Keep It Balanced: Ensure that each letter is balanced in tone and content. It’s important not to show favoritism or create feelings of resentment among your heirs.

Example of a Note

To give you a better idea of how such a note might read, here’s a short example:

Dear Emma,

As you read this, I hope you remember all the wonderful times we spent together and know how deeply I cherished our relationship. I have decided to leave you the cabin by the lake where we had many of our summer adventures. It is my hope that you will continue to use this place as a sanctuary for yourself and your family, creating memories just as we did. Remember to take care of it as we always have and let it be a place where you can find peace and joy. I trust your judgment and know that you will make wise decisions that reflect not only your needs but those of your family.

With all my love,


Including a personalized note in your will can transform a standard legal document into a treasured keepsake.

'A Note from the Grave' not only clarifies your intentions and wishes but also serves as a final act of love and wisdom passed down to future generations.

As we plan for the end of our lives, let us not forget the power of our words and the lasting impact they can have on those we love.

This approach can ensure that your legacy of health, wealth, and happiness lives on long after you’re gone.


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