An Ethical Will may be the most important thing you leave.
An Ethical Will is not a legal document; it is an expression of who you are, how you feel and what is important to you. A traditional will is used to pass on your assets. An Ethical Will is used to pass on your values. The stories you tell and the values you share will help your family and friends remember the person that you are. Take time to write about what is important to you and something you learned from grandparents, parents, spouse, children and others. Share what you are grateful for and what your hopes are for the future of your loved ones. Here are some examples of topics you could address in an Ethical Will:
- My life Experiences
- The importance of family
- Religion / Spirituality
- Learning from mistakes
- Being honest, truthful and sincere
- Giving and receiving
- The importance of learning and knowledge
- Reflections on how you coped with difficult situations
- Doing good and avoiding evil
- Lessons learned in Life
- The importance of humor and what made you laugh
- Important relationships
- Your top ten______(ie: books, songs, vacations…)
- What did you do for fun and what brought you joy
In conclusion, an Ethical Will can take the form of a letter written to one’s own children or grandchildren, or it could be a longer, personal history with stories, experiences and wisdom for future generations. In many ways an Ethical Will could be the most important document that you leave your loved ones.
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.