Every so often, in quiet moments of contemplation, we might find ourselves wondering what traces of our identity will be left behind when we die. How we'll be remembered, what our life will represent, and how our families will be influenced by our values.
Beyond personal property and money in the estate, our own personal story speaks to our achievements and the impact we've had on others during our lives. Otherwise known as our personal legacy, it's the way we'll be remembered after we die.
Quite frankly, it can be strange thinking about how others perceive you. Sometimes it's valuable to accept the limited control we have over those perceptions, while also making the most of the chances we have to lead a good life.
From our role as a parent, to our identity as women, wellbeing experts or someone who donated to charity- there are a number of ways we might be remembered. In living a life of meaning we make choices in line with our values and, in doing so, create a personal legacy we're proud of.
So when it comes to leaving a personal legacy that we're proud of, where do we begin?
Success looks and feels different for everyone, so there's no one size that fits all when it comes to our achievements. Our accomplishments can be any number of professional, personal and educational goals that enrich us as individuals. For some, it may be about artistic legacy and for others, all about services and support they gave in life.
These achievements serve as living proof of what we've overcome and achieved in our own lives beyond money. Your personal achievements might look like:
Going back to school
Raising your own family
Starting a community book club
Taking a risk in a new industry
Leading others in a team
Creating your own business
Travelling the world
Big or small, a personal achievement can have a positive impact on your own well-being and journey in life. This can influence the way you and others see yourself, creating a lasting personal legacy.
It's become natural to share so much of our lives online as a way to express ourselves and connect with others. Plus, it can also be really fun. As common as social media is, we rarely think about what happens with our digital legacy when we're no longer around.
Your digital legacy might include:
Social media profiles
Blogs or websites
It's safe to say that most of us at some point have shared something that our future selves mightn't be super impressed by. Whether you want to save yourself from embarrassment (yes, it can still haunt you) or protect your reputation, it's worth deciding who will control your digital legacy by writing it into your Will.
Whilst matters relating to your Instagram or blog might seem trivial in the face of death- these platforms can become an important way families remember you. In this sense, they offer a chance to express what was meaningful to you, as well as what you were grateful for in life.
At the end of the day, your personal legacy is shaped by the people who know you and how you've inspired or helped them. We're not saying you need to change the whole world, but positively impacting your own world can make a big difference in how you're remembered.
Understanding your social responsibility to act kindly and generously can help shape your personal legacy- whether it's how you donate, supporting families in your community or completing services that give value to others.
You might positively impact others by:
Making charitable donations
Sharing your time, expertise and talent
Volunteering for nonprofit organisations
Cleaning up litter
Spending quality time with people
Your personal values can make up an important part of how you're remembered. Reconnecting with these can help inform your choices in life, and shape your legacy in death.
In thinking about death and legacy in this way, you can also re-align your values and actions with what's really important to you- from how much time you spend with your children, to health decisions and how often you help out in the community. Some important values to think about which can shape your personal legacy are:
Writing your Will is one of the simplest ways to positively help others and shape your personal legacy. More than just protecting your assets, it can be a meaningful way to support your children and wider family at an already difficult time.
Whether that's outlining wishes to take off the strain, leaving a donation to a charity or gifting leftover funds to help support a family member- your Will can create a lasting impact. In doing so, it can become an integral part of your personal legacy both in spirit and the tangible impact allocated funds makes.
Give back with Safewill
By partnering with charities around Australia, the Safewill platform has helped make leaving charitable gifts in your Will easy. On top of communicating your wishes to your family and helping support children left behind, writing your Will with Safewilll makes leaving a charitable donation easier than ever before.
Not writing a Will leaves the Government free rein to distribute assets on your behalf- leaving no scope for personal choice on where to donate, and how to shape your legacy with your end of life wishes.
Help shape your personal legacy and get started with Safewill today.