What if you had the writings of your great or great-great grandparents? Writing you could read, keep and share about what they believed, what they learned from life, and what life was like for them? Information that they found important and personally wanted their heirs to know, a sort of love letter to their living decedents and those not yet born. Wouldn’t that be exciting? To glimpse into their mind and heart? To get a feel for who they were intimately?
Now, what about you? All that you have gone through, all that you have learned, your successes, failures, losses and triumphs, your hard-earned wisdom and deeply held beliefs, can be captured and passed down as a spiritual or ethical will. What a treasure it would be! As a financial planner and advisor, I’ve assisted people with their estate planning for well over 30 years. Explaining how our possessions and
financial assets can pass easily to our loved ones and charities, but what about our intangibles? Our knowledge? What is in our hearts?
There is an old tradition in the Jewish faith called tzevaot, and today it has become thought of as a letter from the grave, (though some were given while the person was alive too). When I learned of this, I found it so intriguing that I decided not only would I put down my most cherished beliefs and insights, but I would also make this available to everyone by creating a workbook; a gentle guide to go through the process of creating one’s own spiritual legacy.
The act of writing it benefits the author—you, too. Some benefits of writing an ethical will are bringing a person closer to their heritage, understanding more of their own cultural history, and defining their ethical and spiritual values. Thus, you create an intangible, but very meaningful legacy. Through the
project you may begin to understand how your life made a difference. And can continue to do so through your efforts in the pages within this workbook.
Here is a workbook to bequeath your beliefs, ethics, values and history as a legacy to your heirs. We can pass down intangibles like our knowledge and what is in our hearts. There are questions to trigger or inspire you on various topics such as impactful life lessons, humorous family stories, good advice from your parents, and things you wish you had been taught!
I think you’ll also realize the benefit of this exercise for you and your own growth.
This is your love letter to those who live on after you and even those who aren’t born yet.
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