Rachael Freed

Class Title: Your Legacy Matters: An Introduction to Legacy Writing
Instructor: Rachael Freed
Class Term:
We are not accepting any more enrollments for Rachael's class; the class has started.


Do you want to preserve and communicate your history, learnings from your experience, and values to your loved ones? From the ancient tradition of the "ethical will" comes a contemporary writing genre to do just that. Legacy writing links you to your history, deepens your identity, focuses your purpose, and translates your hard-learned wisdom into blessings for future generations.

Class Description

We begin with a sequential series of structured writing exercises to access your content and practice the components of writing your legacy letters and documents. Instructions methods include some didactic/lecture; structured writing exercises, sharing of writing to build community and collaboration about memories and values.

At the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • Define and comprehend the historical ethical will and its two purposes; understand the transformation from the patriarchial ethical will to the contemporary legacy writing with a mission of giving women their voices.
  • Identify the human needs that are addressed by writing legacy documents
  • Identify and use the template defining four components of a legacy letter
  • Write legacy letters and documents on a variety of contemporary legacy writing topics linking the past, present, and future
  • Experience competence and confidence in continuing legacy writing post-class

Instruction/Communication Method: I will deliver handouts via email and communicate on (an exceptional and very easy to use visual and aural interactive webinar platform.


NOTE: classes will occur on Mondays, beginning January 23, 7-9pm CST and will be held on (a free interactive internet platform).
  • Unit 1: Introduction of course "rules" about confidentiality, sharing writing, listening, and commitment to homework. Introduction of principles of legacy work and terminology. We'll write a personal haiku of purpose and share them to get to know each other. We'll discuss the power and importance of Names as the first legacy we receive and write a names exercise and share it in class. We'll discuss the importance of History and Story about ancestors, write a preliminary exercise (about an ancestor) to prepare homework writing.

  • Unit 2: Ourselves as the Link Between the Past and the Future. We'll focus on the value of Legacies from our Ancestors. We'll discuss & write about the importance of Hero/heroines & the legacies we've received from them.

  • Unit 3: Our Stories, Experience and Values: We'll discuss and write about our stories and the learnings extracted from our experience using the Four Paragraph Template for a One Page Legacy Letter. We'll differentiate legacy writing from memoir and spiritual autobiography. We'll discuss when, how and to whom to communicate legacy letters.

  • Unit 4: The Legacy of Blessings. We'll discuss blessings: historical & modern and how blessings differ from instructions and good wishes. We'll write and share blessings in class, learn about editing them from a legacy perspective and how to incorporate blessings into a legacy letter.

  • Unit 5: The Legacy of "Stuff" and Aging. We'll discuss the concept of coherence & continuity of our "stuff" including money. I'll introduce "gerotranscendence." We'll write and share in class about the stuff we value and why.

  • Unit 6: Preserving and Communicating Your Legacy Before Dying. We'll focus on wrapping things up, including the sacred nature of life and death, the urgency, responsibility, and significance of legacy writing. We'll write and share in class a draft of a letter to accompany the "living will" or advance directive. We'll write final blessings and share about ways to continue legacy writing.

Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required

All writing abilities welcome. Computer required: downloading; use of Word, internet, email, and printer.

Time Commitment: class time: 2 or 2-1/2 hours; homework during the week: 1-3 hours.

Tuition/Fees for this course

SCN members: $192. Non-SCN members: $240.

Instructor Bio

Rachael Freed, MSW, LMFT, a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing, has been teaching legacy writing for 20 years. She trains, certifies, and leads a guild of legacy facilitators throughout North America. She presented Legacy at the 2016 Transforming Aging Summit. Rachael has six published books; most recent, Your Legacy Matters. Also Women's Lives, Women's Legacies, The Legacy Workbook for the Busy Woman, and My Financial Legacy (a monograph). She wrote and produced the Hugo Award-winning video-series, "Portrait of the Heartmate," used in cardiac rehabilitation nationally. She is the author of Heartmates: a guide for the recovery of the partner and family of the heart patient, and The Heartmates Journal: a companion for partners of people with heart disease. She taught English, served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia, and practiced psychotherapy for 30 years. Visit her website.

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