Think about this country’s past and present challenges. 

They have deeply influenced the legacy of who we are and what we value, haven’t they?

The brotherhood, resourcefulness, perseverance, resilience, and self-sacrifice which mark the American spirit have shone brightest in the midst of economic crises, amid the fight for civil rights, in response to injustice, and in the aftermath of our greatest losses.  

The pandemic of COVID-19 will be no exception. 

Now is a time for each of us to find once again that hardship gives us perspective and reminds us of what’s important. As we walk through this difficulty together, one practical thing we can do is take advantage of the focus adversity affords us by communicating those priceless values.

We regularly encourage our clients to do this by creating their Ethical Will. Ethical Wills are an old tradition. Their purpose is to record a person’s morals, influential lessons he or she has learned, and the experiences that have shaped them. And even though they are not an official legal document, we still consider them to be the most impactful part of any estate plan. They are designed to pass your ethics to your loved ones and the next generation.  Whether you have an estate plan or not, now is a perfect time for each of us to think through our priorities and create these invaluable documents. 

Start by asking yourself questions like these:

  • What do I believe is the most important thing in life?
  • What ideals do I believe everyone should strive for?
  • What do I hope the next generation will value or remember?
  • What would I say to someone I love if I knew I was having my last conversation with them?
  • What do I want people to think of when they think of me?

As ideas begin to flow, write them down.  Don’t get hung up on your words sounding perfect, just be heartfelt; be yourself.  Then, make a point to communicate your ideas to the people you love. We also recommend you put your Ethical Will with your other end-of-life documents so that when you pass away, it will be read and treasured by those who knew you.

Many of us have more time on our hands now, and we’re encouraging people to write out thoughts that are inspired by the weightiness of this troubling time. We think you’ll find, as we have, that it is therapeutic and meaningful, and will someday be a precious gift to your family, friends, and the world.


For more history on Ethical Wills, as well as our Guide on how to write them, visit: Your Ethical Will: The Most Important Document In a Relational Estate Plan