A Letter to Remember
Over the period of the last twenty years, I have written several hundred Wills, Power of Attorneys and Health Care Proxies, the three documents I deemed to be a complete set for my estate planning clients.
That is, until I read an article in November 2018 AARP Bulletin, it never crossed my mind to counsel clients that there could actually be four documents to complete their estate planning. The last of which is “A Letter to Remember”. How many of you have felt regret when losing a friend or loved one? You might have missed the opportunity to tell them how much you loved them, how much influence they had on your life or even apologize for a misdeed. If you have ever felt this way, then act on it, talk to yourself about putting those thoughts in a letter to accompany your will, telling that friend or loved one the same thing. Maybe you think you will get that opportunity to verbalize your feelings. Sometimes, those words are just too hard to verbalize, time passes and before one realizes it, that friend or loved one is gone. You might have spoken those words only to have them lost to interpretation. Another lost opportunity! It is better to write that letter while you are still healthy, which might encourage healing the relationship. This last letter should show what is in your heart; love, reconciliation, forgiveness, an apology, a thank you or to say goodbye. Death does not end your responsibility to those you leave behind. This “feel good” letter will make YOU feel good and will be treasured by the recipient(s). Once you have written the letter, put it with your Will or in a drawer where you store precious things.
It can be tough to get started on such a letter, especially if you don’t feel an immediate need. In that event, go to med.stanford.edu/letter/friendsandfamily for a template in 8 languages and sample letters.
Patricia Y. Comer
2107 2nd Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203