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Values, not Valuables
9/1/2008
How to leave an ethical will for your loved ones.
Wish you could learn who your ancestors actually were, beyond just the facts? You can ensure your descendants know a whole lot more about you — if you join the growing number of Americans who are creating ethical wills.

“An ethical will is a letter or statement about your values or what has meaning in your life,” says Donna Gold, a personal historian who conducts workshops on how to prepare such documents.

Also known as a legacy letter or life letter, an ethical will leaves your heirs more than just money or property. You can use it to share family stories or words of wisdom, to explain why you left the good china to your daughter and the Matchbox car collection to your third cousin, or to tell your children or grandchildren what you couldn't — or didn't want to — while you were alive.

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