The Ethical Will 

Written by Dr. Andrew Thomas Weil, renowned author, teacher and recognized expert on holistic health,Healthy Aging, a Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being encourages people to write an ethical will. Unlike a legal will, an ethical will is more of a spiritual account in which you take stock of your values, lessons and expressions of love and forgiveness. It's a document you may wish to share with family and friends while you're still alive.

There are no hard-and-fast rules on to how to draft an ethical will. For many, it's a stream of conscious essay in which you speak of the things important to you. Others write it as a memoir to recount family stories and anecdotes. When you think about it, so many family histories are lost because no one bothers to write them down; writing an ethical will gives you the opportunity to pen these experiences for your children and future generations. You may wish to document traditions-no matter how trivial-that have either held throughout your family's history or that you just started with your own family. The more detail you include, the more your writings will be enjoyed by others.

An ethical will needn't only be a historical account. Use it to express your feelings, beliefs and values and to share lessons learned. The more you take the time to share your experiences, what you learned from them and why they are important to you, the more meaningful they will be to your children, grandchildren and others in the future - as ethical wills can be handed down through the generations.

Another good reason to write an ethical will is to explain why you may be planning to leave assets to certain people, entities or charitable organizations outside of your family. Conveying your thoughts and passions can help alleviate any ill will your family may feel when learning that they will not inherit all of your assets. Furthermore, if you have established a charitable foundation or donor advised fund, you may communicate your wishes as to why you would like your family to continue to support your philanthropic objectives.