The Ethical Will

Lately the term Ethical Will has been appearing in various magazines and newspaper articles, particularly when addressing the Baby Boomers. In some circles it is referred to as a Spiritual-Ethical Will. Just what is an Ethical Will? It is a way to pass on your values, ethics, life lessons, beliefs, and words of wisdom, to your family, friends and community. It's an opportunity to preserve your legacy for those you love and care about. Ethical Wills are not new...the Hebrew Bible first described them 3000 years ago. They were first transmitted orally close to the time of death. Later they became written documents attached to legal wills. Today, they are most often written as a separate document and shared with family and community while the author is still alive. Reflecting and writing about our deepest values is courageous, spiritual work, giving us the term Spiritual-Ethical Will. Neither are a legal will, which documents how your estate should be distributed after you die. It is a record of who you are - a gift to the present and to the future, one that can be offered to your friends and family when you're still alive.

Why Create an Ethical Will?

o To share your personal history
o To tell your story
o To pass on the family's history
o To preserve traditions passed on from your parents/grandparents
o To pass on your love and wisdom to those you love
o To validate your own life
o To come to terms with your own mortality by creating something of meaning that will live on after you die

For more information on Ethical Wills contact Judy Ranieri, MA, Life Coach, and Executive Director of The Wisdom Box. Judy can be reached at

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©2004 Judy Ranieri, MA