Besides our will, powers of attorney, trust documents, and other legal, financial, and end-of-life instructions that we should share with family members, we need to prepare one other item: our ethical will.
Ethical wills (or legacy letters) are designed to transmit values from one generation to the next. They set out our beliefs, principles, and hopes for those who succeed us. An ethical will often include what we’re grateful for and our expectations for the future. They are best written over an extended period. Their purpose is to express what we hope our children will continue to follow and abide by.
Ethical wills are nothing new. Their origins are rooted in Biblical soil. Think of Moses speaking his parting words to the children of Israel as they were about to enter the Holy Land. Or, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which he told his disciples that, among other Beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth.” [Read more…]