Writing a last will and testament can be difficult, as we try to organize a lifetime’s worth of possessions and assets. But many people find that want to leave more than their physical belongings: they want to leave behind the lifetime’s worth of wisdom and lessons they have learned along the way.

This is where ethical wills become helpful. An ethical will is not a legal document, but it is something that many people opt to write as they are preparing their last will and testament. Let’s explore some things that an ethical will can help with.

What do people put in ethical wills?

What you put in an ethical will is entirely up to you. When writing an ethical will, some people choose to include things like:

  • Stories and anecdotes: This is a great place to share important stories that you want your family members to know or pass on.
  • Self-reflection: Reflecting on the choices you’ve made and how you feel about them can say so much.
  • Your values and wisdom: Often, we want to pass on advice to help guide those who we leave behind. An ethical will is a great place to do this.
  • Family recipes: Food is the heart of many families. Leaving behind your special, secret recipes is a wonderful way to continue your legacy.

How do you write an ethical will?

To get started writing an ethical will, take the time to reflect on the most significant moments and experiences of your life. Think of your greatest joys and your greatest challenges. Consider what you want your family to know about your hopes for their futures. There is no one ‘right’ way to write an ethical will. It is your personal experience and you get to decide the best format to convey that to loved ones.

Preparing our loved ones for our deaths is never easy, which is why writing an ethical will along with your last will and testament can be such a powerful thing. It allows you to leave something beyond just your physical possessions: your personal legacy, wisdom, and hopes for your future.