Advertisement

How to Write an Ethical Will

Plan on writing several drafts, possibly starting with an outline of key points, and then getting more specific. Jot down ideas over time. If you find it easier, you might try recording your thoughts on tape and then transcribing and editing those notes.


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
Some possible topics to get you started include:


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
• What I learned from my parents/grandparents


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
• Challenges I’ve faced and lessons I’ve learned


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
• My heritage


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
• My dreams for my children or the future world


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
To get the ball rolling, Ethical Wills’ author Dr. Barry Baines suggests an exercise that he calls “bridging the generations”: Envision yourself meeting one of your own ancestors. What questions would you want to ask this person? Your descendants are likely to want the same questions answered by you.


ILY: Verdana; mso-bidi-font-size: 12.0pt">
It may be helpful to look at ethical wills that have been written by others. Some examples are posted on Baines’ Web site and are included in his book. Other samples are included in Rabbi Jack Reimer’s book, So That Your Values May Live On: Ethical Wills and How to Prepare Them.





For those who may feel overwhelmed by the process of creating their ethical will, a new field of consultants has emerged, with services that include brainstorming, writing, editing, printing and even videotaping. Hiring one of these professionals may well be a smart investment in creating an inheritance that will be treasured for many generations. Check www.ethicalwill.com for a list of ethical will consultants.

More on Ethical Wills: Mapping Out Your Most Meaningful Legacy




Advertisment