An ethical will is a personal written document you can create to communicate your values, experiences, and life lessons. Ethical wills are a way to share stories, achievements, blessings, love, and forgiveness with your family and friends. Unlike a legal will, which is a tool for transferring your assets and property, an ethical will is designed to pass on traditions, memories, spiritual values, and wishes for your family’s future.
An ethical will gives you a chance to share your personal story and leave behind non-physical items such as wisdom, family traditions, and memories. You also have the opportunity to list items that have no monetary value such as photos, family recipes, and other items with special meaning. This document can also include an explanation of decisions made in a legal will.
Start by brainstorming different ideas, lessons, and memories you would like to share and leave as a legacy. Think about your most significant events, moments, and life experiences. Some of the following questions might help you get started:
As ideas begin to flow, write them down. You can start by telling stories or memories you would like to pass on to future generations. An ethical will is your document to create and reflect on your life and personality. Ethical wills have no standard form or structure, so feel free to personalize. It can be a written letter, a note, or a diary. You can also create a scrapbook, record a video, or write a song.
By giving your family your ethical will, you will be leaving something meaningful behind—a lasting legacy of values that others will cherish for years to come.
To view a free sample of an ethical will, click here. For more information or to schedule a free ethical will presentation for your organization, please email Community Education Specialist, Diane Fasselius, or call 563.582.1220. Several additional topics are also available.