Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Legacy Letter/Ethical Will?
- A Legacy Letter is a heartfelt expression of what truly matters most in your life.
- Although it is sometimes called an Ethical Will, it is not a legal document; it does not distribute your material wealth, but rather your values, wisdom, and life lessons.
- Ethical Wills are not new. References to this tradition are found in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and in other cultures. Today, Legacy Letters, the modern term for Ethical Wills, are being written by people at turning points and transitions in their lives and when facing challenging life situations. They are usually shared with family and community while the writer is still alive.
- A Legacy Letter may be one of the most cherished and meaningful gifts you can leave to your family and community.
What do I include in a Legacy Letter?
A Legacy Letter reflects the “voice of the heart.” Think of it as a love letter to the people you care about. Every Legacy Letter is as unique as the person writing it. Historically, Ethical Wills contained blessings, personal and spiritual values, and burial instructions. Here is a partial list of common themes seen in more modern Legacy Letters:
- Deeply held personal values and beliefs
- Important spiritual values
- Hopes and wishes for future generations
- Life’s lessons
- Messages of love
- Grants of and requests for forgiveness
When do people write a Legacy Letter?
The right time to write a Legacy Letter/Ethical Will depends on each person’s unique journey. Life transitions such as the birth of a child, an newly empty nest or retirement are examples of natural times when we are drawn to reflect on what is important to us. Some people write them once, and are done, and others come back time and time again to revise and update their accumulated wisdom. The choice is yours.
How much does it cost?
Typically, the fee for the workshop runs around $50/participant, depending on location and possible sponsors. Printing and production costs are extra, if you choose to do that.
I am Certified as a Legacy Navigator by Celebrations of Life, the national leader in this field. Visit their website www.CelebrationsofLife.net for more information.