• Jeff Sproul

Preserving a Loving Connection

Updated: May 9, 2020

Unfortunately at some point we all have lost, or will lose, someone near and dear to our heart. This is the driving force behind Estate planning, which ensures the effective and efficient transition of wealth from one person to another. However, this planning process often ignores or even forgets about the salient points that we only realize long after the planning and passing has occurred. By nature we all focus on the dollars and cents. There is a strong argument to not only focus on the financial well-being of those left behind, but also the emotional toll it can take on those who have lost.

A recent survey published by Beyond Estate Planning highlighted the need for us to not only ensure we have proper legal documents in place, but also to make sure we convey our thoughts to our loved ones in a personalized manner. More than half of those surveyed were not looking for a specific personal message from any person.

This makes sense as we usually have multiple people in our lives who hold significant importance. The pie chart shows the distribution from those who did want to hear from a specific person. Most People were hoping for a letter written directly to them People emphasized the importance and meaning of having specific messages sent their way via a hand written letter or letters.

Messages that are personalized, as opposed to being general, are much more likely to act as an interpersonal connection that otherwise would have been missed. The fact that people were asking for this speaks to the attachment nature of grief and loss. The Relationship was the most important topic of conversation.

Survivors were interested in knowing about history and life experiences. However, the most striking and consistent message received from respondents was that they wanted to have evidence speaking to the importance of the relationship. They also wanted to hear expressions of love from the deceased towards them. It was touchingly reiterated over and over again by many respondents that the simplest and most important written content they could receive from a loved one was, “I love you, I always have, I always will.” Statements such as this, as simple as they are, as obvious as they may seem, as unnecessary to write as they may appear, are of the utmost importance in the absence of physical life, when such utterings can no longer occur.

People suggested that they wanted to know that the life of the deceased was enriched by their presence. They wanted to know that they contributed to growth and happiness - to feel as though they played an import role in their loved one’s life.

Our memories cannot be fully trusted to be accurate. However, written work can act as a more reliable witness to what existed then, so that it may in some way continue to exist today.

Some People Already Have Written Keepsakes Many people spoke about how their loved ones’ journals or letters brought them comfort, a sense of connection, and wisdom. Every single respondent spoke of how these items were amongst the most treasured of all the things they had.

A few moments of your time may provide an eternity of comfort to someone you love.

#JeffSproul #EstatePlanning

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