Preserving Your Legacy In Print
A published book is one way to create a lasting legacy for the future.
August 15, 2012
by Judy Martel
When it comes to ensuring a legacy, a variety of legal and financial
strategies can provide peace of mind. But archiving the memories and
stories that make up a family's unique history can often unite and
engage future generations in ways dollars and documents never can.
John P. Nelson, CEO of SilverStone Group, the insurance company founded
by his father, publishing a legacy book allowed him to not only learn
more about his past but also to share it with his three children and
Nelson worked with Legacy Preservation in Omaha, Neb., to research, write, edit and publish An Uncommon Family.
The title is taken from a creed by American statesman Dean Alfange,
which his father framed and hung in his office, that begins, "I do not
choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon, if I can."
father truly was a self-made individual," explained Nelson. "He was
born in 1912, ran away from home and was on his own since the
eighth-grade. He put himself through high school and college and
eventually earned his law degree, all through manual labor."
Nelson, 72, is now passing the reins of the family company to his son, the third generation.
to Jim Fogarty, one of three partners at Legacy Preservation, family
patriarchs often hit milestones and begin thinking about leaving a
legacy beyond a buttoned-up estate or business plan. "Our clients have a
thirst for something more than financial advice," he said.
firm has worked with 38 to 40 families over the past six years, he says,
and every one "has had a passion for recording their story."
said that the company uncovered information that he never would have
found on his own, such as the deed to his great-grandparents' Nebraska
homestead. "They've found old newspaper clippings and lots of photos
we'd never seen," Nelson says.
Firms like Legacy Preservation and
Legacy Books of Provo, Utah, another full-service shop owned by John
Catron, offer various levels of service.
"Some families come to
us with all their materials and want it all nicely bound in
coffee-table-book quality," Catron said. "Others come with nothing and
want us to put it all together."
Catron recently completed a history of Howard Tracy Hall, the first chemist to synthesize diamonds in a laboratory.
The cost of a legacy book depends on the type of services the client wants, the published quality and the quantity.
is working on a history for a family on the East Coast that will cost
$45,000, but he's charged as little as $5,000 for small books. Fogarty
said his company's books range from $15,000 to $55,000, and above.
both firms offer digital copies of family histories and other
multimedia presentations, most clients prefer bound books. "We tell
clients the end product can be anything they want but they almost
invariably look at a book as more permanent," Fogarty said.
process requires time and commitment from the clients, Catron explained,
"but in the end, they get a legacy that lasts several hundred years."