Ethical Wills

An ethical will is a written document that includes instructions for life, morals, values and family stories that one generation hopes to pass on to the next. Ethical Wills are gaining in popularity today as some people want to find a way to leave their loved ones with “values” instead of just “valuables. Rabbi Mitch can assist you and guide you through the process of developing an ethical will.

Ethical wills are not new. The Hebrew Bible first described ethical wills 3000 years ago (Genesis Ch. 49). References to this tradition are also found in the Christian Bible (John Ch. 15-18) and in other cultures. Initially, ethical wills were transmitted orally. Over time, they evolved into written documents. ‘Ethical wills’ are not considered legal documents as compared to ‘living wills’ and your ‘last will and testament’ which are legal documents.

Today, 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. Ethical wills may be one of the most cherished and meaningful gifts you can leave to your family and community.

There are many personal reasons for writing an ethical will. Here are some of them:

  • We all want to be remembered, and we all will leave something behind.
  • If we don’t tell our stories and the stories from whom we come, no one else will and they will be lost forever.
  • It helps you identify what you value most and what you stand for.
  • By articulating what we value now, we can take steps to insure the continuation of those values for future generations.
  • You learn a lot about yourself in the process of writing an ethical will.
  • It helps us come to terms with our mortality by creating something of meaning that will live on after we are gone.
  • It provides a sense of completion in our lives.

Ethical wills are a way to share your values, blessings, life’s lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. Writing an ethical will may seem difficult. However, it can be viewed as the writing of a love letter to your family. Ethical Wills can include personal and spiritual values, hopes, experiences, love, and forgiveness. It may well be one of the most cherished gifts you can give to your family. Rabbi Mitch can assist you and guide you through the process of developing an ethical will. Give him a call today at (954)-755-3764 or via email at