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4 Good Reasons to Write an Ethical Will

In today's world, most people are aware of the importance of a will. This document expresses a person's wishes regarding personal property and money. Living wills have also gained popularity. They are used for expressing a person's wishes if they become unable to make decisions for medical treatment and life-sustaining measures. However, there is another important type of will to add to the priority list: An ethical will.

This type of will is not a legal document. It is a letter or informal document expressing personal values, hopes, future dreams, life experiences and blessings. The letter is shared with family members or friends while the creator is still alive. Although this idea may not sound as important at first thought, consider the following reasons to create one:

  • It helps connect future generations. A person working on a family history project would be thrilled to find a hand-written personal letter from an ancestor. Future generations will be able to better understand their family's culture and values by reading an ethical will. The letter also helps paint a better picture of the individual writing it. Since it is natural for humans to desire recognition, most people find the thought of their memory lasting into the future very attractive.
  • It draws a moral road map. Past reflections are not the only element of an ethical will. They give individuals the opportunity to express what lies ahead and what they stand for. All families hope that future generations will respect and honor their values, so this provides a way to personally document them.
  • It is a very healthy exercise. Writing about life may have a positive health impact for some people. When individuals have the chance to explore their capabilities, desires and memories, they have a way to relieve stress or cope with life's problems. Some people may even find that this positive task helps them sleep better.
  • It provides a way to impart wisdom. Most people find the task of writing a memoir too extensive. Editing, publishing and paying all the necessary bills associated with such a project requires plenty of time and money. An ethical will is a simple and inexpensive way to convey such important ideas. To reach a larger audience, the will can be shared at a special party, a family gathering or any other occasion.

Since the reasons for constructing an ethical will have been covered, it is important to understand how to write one. They are informal documents, so the key is to make it reflect personality and values. Consider the following questions for writing an ethical will:

  • Are there any individuals in life who must be forgiven?
  • Are there any particular personal beliefs that are important?
  • Are there any specific events that helped build character or influenced life decisions?
  • Are there currently any personal regrets?
  • Is forgiveness desired from any people who were wronged?
  • Is there an important spiritual aspect of life that must be expressed?
  • What important life lessons have been learned?