The Rise of Ethical Wills
Sheila Hogan | 8 August 2019
Once upon a time, Ethical Wills (also known as Legacy Letters) were only to be found in Jewish communities, used as a way to pass down guiding principles and values from one generation to the next. Fast forward to the current day and they are becoming increasingly popular across all walks of life. There is no set format to follow or even a preferred way to record the information you are sharing – it can be written down, made into an audio recording or even recorded as a series of videos.
All Ethical Wills share one thing in common: the desire to pass wisdom and love to the next generation. Perhaps you want to definitively document your memoirs or family history. Or it could be a way of telling your family how much you care for them or your hopes and dreams for their future. Some people use it as an evolving journal of life lessons.
Many people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness find that creating an Ethical Will helps them to process their situation. Knowing that they can leave behind a part of themselves can be a great comfort. Family tales, marriage advice, sharing moral values with regards to honesty, courage or work ethics are all invaluable lessons. Letters written for significant birthdays or a father of the bride speech to be read at some point in the future would mean so much.
Of course, an Ethical Will doesn’t need to be a deeply personal, emotional document. It could simply be used to pass on your favourite recipes, gardening tips and anecdotes with love. Some people even choose to compose it in the form of a song or poem to lighten the message.
Writing these thoughts down can allow you to reflect on your life, focus your thoughts and possibly even provide closure on difficult memories. It could equally be a place to ask forgiveness for past actions or explain your rationale for the decisions you have made in life.
Barack Obama famously wrote a Legacy Letter to his daughters on the eve of his inauguration as President of the United States of America explaining his hopes and dreams, not only for his girls but for America as a whole. He reflected on the impact the presidential race had had on his family and life lessons he had been taught by his mother. He also looked forward to the achievements he hoped lay ahead. It is easy to see how the process of writing this letter could have helped shape his own thoughts at the same time as passing on his wisdom to his family. It was a moment in time captured perfectly in his words.
Biscuit Tin can provide you with a safe place to store your Ethical Will and share it with your loved ones when the time is right.
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