Writing an Ethical Will: A Loving Legacy Letter

We cannot learn from a story noone has ever told us.

Rabbi Leder

I started journaling years ago, so I feel like I've got a pretty good start on leaving something behind.

But I was still really intrigued when I heard an interview with Rabbi Leder about his new book, For When I'm Gone.

He makes the point, that in a culture that values material possessions over the spiritual, we forget that our words carry greater value than any physical item we can leave for our loved ones.

Writing an ethical will, a collection of pages about your past is an ancient tradition. The stories and reflections on your joys and sorrows becomes a way to remember your life after you're gone, but for the author, it can be a primer on how to live a better, happier life. 

Leder believes that "people die, but love and legacy do not".

Here are the 12 Questions he offers as a launching point for you to create your own Ethical Will:

12 Essential Questions for My Ethical Will

1. What do you regret?

2. When was a time you led with your heart?

3. What makes you happy?

4. What was your biggest failure?

5. What got you through your gereatest challenge?

6. What is a good person?

7. What is love?

8. Have you ever cut someone our of your life?

9. How do you want to be remembered?

10. What is good advice?

11. What will your epitaph say?

12. What will your final blessing be?

I think these are all really good questions. Things to think about whether we actually take pen to paper or not.

I heard a question the other day that I think is worth adding:

"Who would you need to forgive in order for your life to feel lighter and better?"

I really like that question. What would you add to the list?