Ethical Wills

The topic of ethical wills came up in a talk tonight. Many folks were unaware of them and their purpose. They have nothing to do with a last will and testament. Ethical wills are documents intended to be passed on to one's family. It is a legacy document that imparts ones values and traditions to their loved ones. The Hebrew name is Zava'ah, and these documents have long been a Jewish tradition to impart a spiritual legacy to children. They are now used in many faiths. Many death doulas work with their families on creating such a document - or film, story, and even mixed media methods.

Included below are some links to resources for constructing your own ethical will or to help someone else do the same. I am in no way affiliated with (other than the fact that I have used their free site), but I must recommend them as a great resource for end-of-life planning and can also help construct an ethical will.

  • My Jewish Learning published an article on ethical wills here.

  • Everplans offers a host of end-of-life and estate planning tools, as well as ethical will construction.

  • North Carolina State University's journal, The Forum, published a comprehensive article on ethical wills.

  • Personal Legacy Advisors provides examples of contemporary ethical wills.

  • Life Legacies also provides a brief overview of ethical wills along with examples.

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