This particular client had a very hard time putting his thoughts to paper but was really committed to the idea. He ended up meeting with attorney Jamie Clausen for lunch. She "interviewed" him about himself and his daughter and his answers became the outline for the letter. If you are having trouble drafting a letter, scheduling a mock interview with a friend or loved one might help you as well. For many of us talking about these issues feels more natural than writing them. It also often brings out more humor and personality. You could record the conversation or use it to brainstorm ideas for a written statement.
It is very difficult for me to write this letter to you. You are so young and I hate the idea of not being around to watch you grow up and I hate the idea of my life ending before I have gotten to do so many of the things that I still want to do in life. But it was important to me to write it because I want you to have something of me if I die while you are still young to remind you of how much I love you and what I wanted for your life.
I want you to know that having you was the best decision of my life. Raising you has brought your mother and I closer together than we ever were before. As you know, we are very different people and parenting together really tested us and made us understand and appreciate each more. I have also learned so much from you. You have a calm spirit that understands that there is no point in being upset by little mistakes or setbacks. That is something that I am learning from you. I also hope that it will be something that you won’t let the pressures of adulthood change in you. Right now you are such a dare devil and so girly. I hope you never loose either of those qualities.
One of the few things that I regret in life is that I didn’t take more adventures when I was younger, particularly that I didn’t travel to more exotic places. You are a great person to travel with and I loved the trip to London together that we took together just the two of us. It is my goal to travel with you to some adventurous location like South America when you are old enough. If I don’t get a chance to do that I really encourage you to take that sort of trip sometime in your life. I have been glad to have done the traveling that I did during my life. I think that it is important to see other cultures and other ways of living.
I also hope that you will travel back to England with some regularity and stay in touch with your family there. I know that they are far away but you mean a lot to them and I want them to stay a part of your life. When I left England to come to America it meant moving out of my parent’s house and getting away from them and it felt very freeing. That is how it feels when you are a young adult and I am sure that there will be times when you will have felt that way about us. But now that I am older, I really appreciate my family and my parents. Having you and made me realize how much they mean to me.
My dad was a hard worker. I admire him for that but my dad also really cared about his family. He loved my mom and cared about us kids. My mom was always there for us and always put family first. When I was growing up, I sometime thought they were too frugal but now I appreciate the value in how they raised us.
I like to think that I am a hard worker like my dad. I hope that you will be a hard worker too. But, while work time is important, you need to enjoy your playtime too. Life isn’t all about work. And try to make some of that playtime physical. It is important to your health and to being happy. Right now you love to dance and bike, I hope you keep those kind of activities. I also think it is important to get out into nature. Don’t get stuck in an office your whole life. The natural beauty in the Northwest is one the things that I love best about living here. Right now you love to be outside and are so curious about animals and science. I was never very good at science but I hope you keep up those interests and wonder and continue to appreciate and experience the natural beauty here.
For my career, I choose to work with the disabled. While this doesn’t pay that much, I have been happy with my choice. Even as a kid I knew that I wanted to work in a helping profession. I would encourage you to do the same. If it isn’t your career, I would encourage you to find ways to volunteer to help the disadvantaged. I think that it teaches you compassion and empathy. It will also remind you that, whatever problems you might have, there is always someone who is less fortunate.
Beyond that I don’t have much in the way of life advice. I don’t have any destiny in mind for you that I need you fulfill to make me happy. I want you to be a decent person who is honest and caring and enjoys life. I think you will be.
We have had our moments and I know that I can sometimes come off as the strict parent: The one who wants you not to make mistakes and wants you to succeed. I am trying to learn to be more calm and patient. But I want you to understand that I want you not to make the big mistakes in life because I want you to have the opportunities to do everything you want to do and I don’t want you to close off any of those opportunities that you might want later on. I want that for you so you can make your own choices and have the life you want. But you need to know as you go through life that I know that everyone makes mistakes and that there is no mistake you could ever make that would have ever made me not still love you like I do now.
And I do love you very much. You are my “bug”. I love counting down the microwave time with you. I love playing with you and reading to you. I love dancing with you in the living room, digging in the garden, and biking to errands. I like sneaking our secret vices like riding in the car together or eating french fries, pizza, and ice cream.
One of my favorite memories is of teaching you to climb on the monkey bars. I held you up and helped you climb until you got the hang of it and then let you go and watched you play. And while I was nervous, you climbed across those bars like a pro. And honestly, that is how I feel about you and your life. I want to get to help you learn and I will always be a little bit nervous but ultimately, I really think you are going to be ok no matter what. And that makes me proud to be your dad.
Hope you never have to read this.
PS: Vegan, Vegetarian, or Meat eater? Its your choice. Ultimately, everything is.
If you are interested in creating an estate plan that includes legacy planning, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 459-1908.