What you liked about these Ethical Wills/Legacy Letters?

 General comments:

  •  The comfort which each person expresses as they consider their mortality.
  • I found something helpful and of interest in each example.
  • They are all about emotions, people and moments that really matter and are lasting.
  • I liked the variety of examples that were given. Each individual conveyed the intent in very different ways without seeming to follow a “formula.” I think the readers must have felt that the letter was coming from the heart and that it was intended just for them.
  • There was good variety in the 3 letters – age, gender, circumstance, focus, target audience.  All the letters contributed ideas to 1 ½ pages of notes to myself re: what I might want to write about myself.
    • All the letters contributed ideas to 1 ½ pages of notes to myself re: what I might want to write about myself.

 Bettina’s Ethical Will:

  • Bettina, who lost her life on earth at such a young age stressed that she had won the challenge of life, sharing unconditional love, opening the mystery of spirit, knowing that divinity is all around us every day giving us a path on which our spirit can take flight.
  • I was gently reminded to be aware of how easy it is to be judgmental and how much nicer it is to treat everyone as if they are doing the best they can, treating others with respect. This reminds me of my dad, who used to tell us ‘to look for the good traits in others and try to make them your own”.
  • “life is about how we live, not how long
  • “I’ll miss giggling with my sister is a reminder that ‘love is what really counts” and we should let the people we love know we love them and why we love them
  • I love the statement “When you think of me, know that my spirit has taken flight and that I loved you”. That makes me think of my mom, my dad, my grandfather and all that I learned from them and how I still feel connected to them.
  • I was especially struck by the quote from Chief Joseph. It is a reminder to stay in the present while honoring the past and looking to the future.

Kim’s Ethical Will:

  • It is hard to identify with Kim’s letter from her single no kids status.  I totally respect her desire to create this letter.
  • Kim, although she had no children, proved to me that she had lived a well balanced and perhaps exciting life, stating that she had actually lived many different lives.  I chuckled at her statement “It’s amazing to get older.”  She is only 52.
  • I value honesty, trust and unguarded love. I would choose honesty, trust and a sense of humor but it is close enough to feel connected to this thread
  • She mentions the need to keep learning and to give back – all admirable traits
  • I really love the image of taking a long walk to listen to the smartest parts of yourself; I think most of us have had great ideas and insights pop into their head while one with nature
  • Riding around in an incredible vehicle, you body, so take good care of it – great way to describe it, great way to foster loving yourself.
  • I especially resonated with Kim’s reflecting on how her childlessness impacted her thinking regarding her legacy.  (I’ve had this internal discussion myself.)


  • I liked that he shared some childhood experiences; I plan to do that
  • Ray, while writing to a few close relatives, expressed his life interests, and his appreciation to them. I found it interesting that he referred to their ancestors, as I believe character traits do run through blood lines.

What stayed with you after reading them?

  • A feeling of warmth, love and compassion.
  • The importance of telling others what you value about them.
  • I was surprised that people of such young ages would be thinking of writing Ethical Wills.  I am 87 years old, have four adult children, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
  • What has stayed with me is the potential for using the ethical will not only for an end of life gift. When I write a letter to a grandchild on their birthday or on holidays, I am in most cases, writing and sharing my hopes for them and conveying my values. I can see that my ethical will can be an extension of these letters in a more expanded format. I wish that I had received such letters from my own parents and grandparents.
  • Kim’s thoughts re: her legacy in view of her childlessness, and her thought that her most difficult lessons provided her greatest transformation.
  • The thank you’s and love is all that matters
  • It is through relationship that we become who we are –how important you all are in my life
  • Connecting the generations by recognizing the parent in the children  (“…your Irish Grandpa…”)

Capture any phrases, words or ideas that you may wish to incorporate into your Ethical Will/Legacy Letter.

“Please do not think I have lost a battle with cancer, for I have won the challenge of life.“

“When you think of me, know that my spirit has taken flight and that I loved you.”

“It’s amazing to get older. Not necessarily fun, but amazing. Each age has its gifts and its limitations.”

“I’m so grateful that you have loved me.”

“I love all of you with all my heart and soul. I pray that all of us continue to have health happiness and prosperity and generously contribute to the lives and welfare of those we meet.”

“YOU are my greatest accomplishment”

“I believe that with your help I have milked my mistakes for whatever vast or minuscule lesson I could learn, and then took it to heart. Through all this, I have tried to give you what I value most: honesty, trust and unguarded love.”

“Statement of spiritual beliefs — God, hiding in plain sight, surrounding us every day.”

“My greatest life-transforming lessons have mostly come from my hardest times — you dissolve when you are in deep grief and you live in the possibility of deepening your values and focus

I’ve tried to be a good friend to all of you.”

“Love is all that matters — Life is how we stand in relationship to both ourselves and to others. Loving and helping each other are all that is important.”

“We carry within ourselves the abundant wisdom and love to heal our weary heart and judgmental mind.”

“My sadness is in leaving you.”

“These are the things I have loved:”

“I have opened to the mystery of Spirit and feel that divinity is all around us every day and provides us with a path on which our spirit may take flight.”

“…keep me out of Your way.”