Monday, November 7, 2011

Ethical Wills - What Are They Really?

An ethical will, also called a legacy letter, is usually a written document created to share significant thoughts with loved ones, such as experiences, values, wisdom, and blessings. It can be shared with family members or friends either at the time it is written, or be preserved and read after the author’s death.

Ethical wills began as a Jewish tradition over 3,000 years ago. Originally, the practice was used to orally pass down values to future generations. Topics usually included the family’s lineage since earliest times. Modern audiences find an updated approach appeals to their current needs to leave a similar legacy.


An ethical will is a document that shares significant thoughts with loved ones. It is also known as a legacy letter.

Whether an ethical will or legacy letter is as brief as a few paragraphs, or as long as a complete memoir, it is a heartfelt communication that becomes an enduring reminder of a person’s love and caring. The majority of ethical wills are written, but other alternatives will be considered later in this chapter. When written by hand, the document becomes a lovely keepsake of an individual’s handwriting.

My grandmother passed away some forty years ago, but recently I found an old recipe card in her beautiful cursive script. For an instant, it felt like she was sitting beside me again. That simple card is a priceless heirloom to me, but I wish she had known about ethical wills.

November Teleclass Schedule
Dial-In: 712 - 432 - 0900
Access: 197851#
Please join us on any of our calls!

Tuesday 11/08/11 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT
TOPIC: What Is an Ethical Will?

Thursday 11/17/11 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT
TOPIC: What Is an Ethical Will vs a Last Will?

Tuesday 11/22/11 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT
TOPIC: Why Write an Ethical Will?

Wednesday 11/30/11 3 PM ET / 2 PM CT / NOON PT
TOPIC: Why Write an Ethical Will?

More details about Ethical Wills available at

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