Think of all the information stored in a library. There are books, videos, photographs, newspapers and historical information. Each of us has our own life library full of memories, beliefs, values and experiences. How nice it would be to preserve them for future generations. Sometimes called life closure or legacy work, an ethical will is a collection of personal values and family history that can be passed on to loved ones. While a legal will designates the disposition and transfer of material possessions and assets, an ethical will bequeaths personal values, reflections, advice and ideals. Some see it as a way to learn about one’s self, reflect on life and to affirm the importance of others in their life.
Transitional times, special events and times of reflection often spark ideas for preserving your legacy with an ethical will. These transitional times include marriage, birth of a first child, becoming an empty nester or grandparent, loss of a job, divorce, the death of a loved one, facing surgery or a serious illness and facing the end of life.
Legacy work and ethical wills take many forms. These can include a compilation of music, writing, creating a piece of art, fabric work, dolls, books, memory boxes and videos. Recording your legacy with an ethical will is like writing a love letter to those who are important to us.
What should you included in an ethical will? Download an Idea Guide for some suggestions.