Ethical Wills

What  is 

         an  Ethical  Will ?

'Preserving A Legacy of Values for
                  Your Family and Community'

Most people are familiar with the concept of “last will and testament”. It is the means of distributing our accumulated assets to our loved ones and favorite charities, and to effect other important decisions at the time of our death.

But . . . have you ever considered writing an ethical will?

An ethical will is a way to share your values with your family in the same way that a will of inheritance provides instructions for bequeathing your valuables.

Ethical wills are not new. The Hebrew Bible first described ethical wills, which were transmitted orally. Later they were written and attached to legal wills and shared after death. Today, they are most often written as a separate document and shared with family members while the writer is still alive.


Why create an Ethical Will?

There are many personal reasons for writing an Ethical Will.  Here is a partial list:

  • We all want to be remembered, and we all will leave something behind
  • It helps you identify what you value most and what you stand for
  • By articulating what we value now, we can take steps to insure the continuation of those values for future generations
  • When you write an ethical will, you learn a lot about yourself
  • If we don’t tell our stories and the stories from whom we come, no one else will and they will be lost forever
  • It helps coming to terms with our mortality by creating something of meaning that will live on after we are gone
  • It provides a sense of completion in our lives


How do you write an Ethical Will?

Writing an ethical will need not be difficult.   Here are three recommended approaches:

  • Use an outline with items to choose from
  • Use an outline and guided writing exercises
  • Start with a blank sheet of paper

This may be one of the most cherished gifts you can give to your family and community.

If you are interested in more resources and information about Ethical Wills, please visit www.ethicalwill.com.                 

Financial Architects, Inc. is offering assistance in preparing your Ethical Will.  If you are interested, please contact us .  

Reprinted with permission, Barry K. Baines, M.D., author of the book  Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper