50+ Famous Quotes About Leaving a Lasting Legacy


Cake values integrity and transparency. We follow a strict editorial process to provide you with the best content possible. We also may earn commission from purchases made through affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more in our affiliate disclosure.

Leaving a legacy takes faith, drive, and consistency. Everyone’s legacy is different. Your legacy might be your kids. It may be a commitment to telling the truth. Or you might have a traditional legacy, in sports or finances.

Jump ahead to these sections:

You might be dealing with the loss of someone who left a legacy for you. Absorbing the impact of this loss is difficult. These quotes can help you grieve and treasure the legacy you were handed, or help you prepare some words for your loved ones.

Post-loss tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, working to preserve their legacy can be overwhelming while also handling their unfinished business. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.

Share your final wishes, just in case.

Create a free Cake end-of-life planning profile and instantly share your health, legal, funeral, and legacy decisions with a loved one.

Legacy Quotes for a Mother or Father

Quote about leaving a legacy with an image of flowers and trees in the background

Your mom and dad already feel that they have a great legacy—their children. And that legacy is something you can carry on for them.

1. “I had an inheritance from my father, / It was the moon and the sun. / And though I roam all over the world, / The spending of it’s never done.” - Ernest Hemingway, author

No matter what kind of legacy your parents gave, it’s with you forever. It has a lot of power to shape you in positive ways.

2. “We stand our best chance of leaving a legacy to those who want to learn, our children, by standing firm. In matters of style, hey, swing with the stream. But in matters of principle, you need to stand like a rock.” - Kevin Costner, actor 

If you’re lucky, your parents taught you how to be a principled person by example.

3. “Legacy. What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” - Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright

Creating a legacy takes faith. After all, you don’t know how it will turn out.

4. “I think the whole world is dying to hear someone say, ‘I love you.’ I think that if I can leave the legacy of love and passion in the world, then I think I’ve done my job in a world that’s getting colder and colder by the day.” - Lionel Richie, singer-songwriter

You might not have learned a lot from your parents. But if they loved you, that’s a legacy all by itself.

5. “Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.” - Peter Strople, business strategist 

Many people think of legacies in material terms. Big houses, a huge savings account, and vacations to exotic locales. Leaving an impact, though, can be a more powerful legacy. 

» MORE: Online obituary that is 100% free. Honor a loved one beyond a newspaper.

Legacy Quotes for a Sibling

You can use these quotes on a memorial collage board. But if you’re not crafty, you can write them in a journal. They are also great for reflection.

6. “A sister is someone who owns part of what you own: a house, perhaps, or a less tangible legacy, like memories of your childhood and the experience of your family.” - Deborah Tannen, professor

A legacy is a shared experience. And it’s cobbled together from years spent together.

7. “That’s the best thing about little sisters: They spend so much time wishing they were elder sisters that in the end, they’re far wiser than the elder ones could ever be.” - Gemma Burgess, author

Some little sisters left a legacy of wisdom. What was your little sister like?

8. “Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” - Queen Elizabeth II, monarch

Even the royal family has memories of childhood chaos.

9. “What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.” - George Eliot, author

Being joined to someone like this is a big gift.

10. “I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.” - Walt Whitman, poet

Sometimes, a legacy is the friendship you find with a sibling. 

Friendship Legacy Quotes

It’s easy to see how your friends made the world a better place. These quotes talk about how they changed everyone they knew.

11. “Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” - Steve Saint, pilot and author

What kind of story can you tell about your friend?

12. “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” - Shannon Adler, author

Some people still tell stories about their great-great-grandfathers. They’ve lived on at each family reunion, each Thanksgiving dinner.

13. “Our legacy is how we spend our time and who we spend it with.” - Jim Stengel, professor and businessman

Chasing ambitions is the American Dream. But when it comes to the end, who did you love?

14. “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.” - Kalu Ndukwe Kalu, political scientist

The world remembers great people. What made them great? Often, it was their empathy for others.

15. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” - Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter

An actionable legacy is evergreen. It lives on after you’re gone. 

Financial Legacy Quotes

Most people think of money when they hear ‘financial legacy.’ But it’s so much more than that.

16. “Money is a guarantee that we may have what we want in the future. Though we need nothing at the moment it insures the possibility of satisfying a new desire when it arises.” - Aristotle, philosopher

Money isn’t everything. But it can change your family’s future if you pass it along.

17. Your economic security does not lie in your job; it lies in your own power to produce – to think, to learn, to create, to adapt. That’s true financial independence. It’s not having wealth; it’s having the power to produce wealth. - Stephen Covey, author

This is the best kind of financial legacy to leave. Money is wonderful, but attitude is everything.

18. “Finance is not merely about making money. It's about achieving our deep goals and protecting the fruits of our labor. It's about stewardship and, therefore, about achieving a good society.” - Robert J. Shiller, economist

If your labor matters to others, you’ve found the right way to make money for future generations.

19. “What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” - Bob Dylan, singer-songwriter

Success is primary, but making money can be secondary and a “consequence” of hard work.

20. “Money may not buy happiness, but it can damn well give it!” - Freddie Mercury, musician

Money can soothe emotional stress over basic needs like paying rent. 

» MORE: Your family has 500 hours of work to do after you die. Learn how you can make it easier for them

Career Legacy Quotes

Quote about leaving a legacy with an image of a golf course in the background

Leaving a legacy as a great athlete or professional is something few people are able to do. And if you can—you’re a lucky person.

21. “Sports creates a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime. It also gives your life structure, discipline and a genuine, sincere, pure fulfillment that few other areas of endeavor provide.” - Bob Cousy, basketball player

Bob Cousy was one of the greats with the Boston Celtics and his legacy pinpoints the true success of what sports can create for anyone who devotes their life to it.

22. “I don't like to use the word 'legacy' because it sounds a bit like I'm full of myself, but I am trying to see how far I can take myself, how far I can push being the best in the world.” - Jason Day, golfer

If you’re ambitious, go for it.

23. “It can be a challenge, but my legacy, at least for the people who came before me, is you don't run from challenges because that's more comfortable and convenient.” - Bryan Stevenson, lawyer

Challenges make us into the people we are. If you love a good challenge, you might be a great athlete in the making.

24. "An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head." - Emil Zàtopek, long-distance runner

In the end, chasing money will not provide you the inspiration to be a great athlete. Sticking to your dreams offers more determination and opportunity for internal success.

25. “It's humbling and enthralling to know your legacy when you're alive.” Laura Schlessinger, psychologist and talk radio host

Some people don’t become famous until after their death. If your loved one was already great, they were very lucky!

Teacher’s Legacy Quotes

Teachers have a major impact on children. They have a greater chance to make a legacy than almost anyone else. 

26.“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” – William Arthur Ward, writer

Good teachers leave their handprints on a child’s heart forever.

27. I am convinced that the greatest legacy we can leave our children are happy memories: those precious moments so much like pebbles on the beach that are plucked from the white sand and placed in tiny boxes that lay undisturbed on tall shelves until one day they spill out and time repeats itself, with joy and sweet sadness, in the child now an adult.” - Og Mandino, author

What are the best memories a teacher ever gave you?

28. "A teacher affects eternity, and can never tell where the influence stops." - Henry Adams, historian

The knowledge a teacher gives has a ripple effect on future generations.

29. "A teacher plants the seeds of knowledge sprinkles them with love, and patiently nurtures their growth to produce tomorrow's dreams." - Unknown

Being a teacher takes faith—you don’t know how students will turn out.

30. "Children are the legacy we leave for the time we will not live to see." - Aristotle, philosopher

Kind, educated children are the most powerful legacy we can leave behind. 

Legacy Quotes About Making the World a Better Place

Everyone wants to improve the world. How can you help do that?

31. “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made...It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.” - Ray Bradbury, author

What tiny or big things have you done to leave your mark?

32. “The planting of a tree, especially one of the long-living hardwood trees, is a gift which you can make to posterity at almost no cost and with almost no trouble, and if the tree takes root it will far outlive the visible effect of any of your other actions, good or evil.” - George Orwell, author

Leaving something as nourishing and resilient as a tree can provide both a physical and meaningful legacy.

33. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson, author

When you can be useful, find joy in purpose, chances are you will be leaving a legacy worth following.

34. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi, activist

Life isn’t always about grand gestures, but when living by your values, you can make a difference.

35. “I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” - Mary Oliver, poet

Even though dying can be like leaving Earth, leaving a legacy is the difference between being a tourist and being a citizen.

Spiritual or Religious Legacy Quotes

To some people, leaving a spiritual legacy is the most important thing.

36. “We, as Christians, have a legacy to leave, and it's all about a love of Christ to permeate the music and reach the hearts of all of the people out there, that don't know him and do know him.” - Lauren Daigle, singer

For Christians, this is a powerful and simple mission.

37. “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.” - C.S. Lewis, author

Life is always about aspiring for better, and if you aspire for the best, chances are you will get that and more.

38. “Children touch all of our lives. We all have the opportunity to sow seeds into the next generation, and there's nothing more important that we can leave on this earth than a legacy of faith, hope, and confidence in our God.” - Victoria Osteen, author

Raising another generation of Christians is a huge task.

39. “It's important that when I stand before the Lord, he says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' I want to finish strong.” - James Dobson, pastor

It doesn’t matter where you start, only where you finish.

40. "The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may." - Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., minister and activist

Staying true to what you believe can be the most enduring portion of your legacy.

Quotes About Building a Legacy

Building a legacy takes effort and foresight.

41. “I want my legacy to exist now, currently, not after I'm gone.” - Eric Burdon, singer-songwriter of the bands The Animals and War

It’s tempting to want a legacy now, not in the future.

42. “You want to be part of something like that, that's something bigger than yourself, that's something you leave a legacy of being part of something special.” - Saquon Barkley, football player

Participating in something that might not succeed, that might change the world, is important.

43. “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, but to leave behind something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk, author

Each choice you make puts a grain of sand in the hourglass of your legacy.

44. “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  - Pericles, Philosopher

Monuments aren’t permanent, but love is.

45. “You can’t leave a footprint that lasts if you’re always walking on tiptoe.” - Marion Blakey

Sometimes the best way to leave a legacy is to live life to the fullest and to not be afraid.

Quotes About Passing on a Legacy

Quote about leaving a legacy with an image of a field a trees in the background

Building a legacy is one thing. Giving it to the next generation is another. 

46. "No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” -Taylor Swift, singer-songwriter

It’s easy to stress over leaving a huge legacy. Being good to others is a great way to start.

47. “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” - J.K. Rowling, author

Said by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter, it is a reminder that despite our talent or creativity, our choices are who define us and leave a lasting mark.

48. “Immortality is to live your life doing good things, and leaving your mark behind.” - Brandon Lee, actor

The wish of immortality cannot come true by living forever, it seems but through doing great deeds and having people remember you for them.

49. “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” - William James, Philosopher

How do you want to spend your life?

50. “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” - William Shakespeare, playwright

Honesty is one of the simplest legacies you can leave behind.

46. “All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” - Jim Rohn, motivational speaker

Taking responsibility is the first step in creating a lasting legacy.

47. "If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.” - Maya Angelou, author

Living with a purpose is the most valuable thing one can do.

48.“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” - Benjamin Franklin, Inventor

There’s a reason we’re still talking about Benjamin Franklin, hundreds of years later.

49. “Please think about your legacy because you are writing it every day.” - Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur

Every day, you have the opportunity to change your life.

50. “My legacy is that I stayed on course... from the beginning to the end because I believed in something inside of me.” - Tina Turner, singer and actress 

Stubborn endurance is a legacy all by itself. 

Crafting A Legacy

Carrying on someone’s legacy is a big responsibility. And it might feel challenging You’re up to the task, though. You can carry on a legacy and make them proud of your efforts. 

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.