Our friends, Sam and Ellen, recently finished their estate plan. They have two young boys who are their pride and joy, and they were concerned with making sure they had guardians place for them. After providing for the boys’ physical wellbeing by creating a Will, they wanted to care for their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. So they put their deepest life values in writing. Their Ethical Will will be passed to their sons and their children when the time comes.
They graciously shared it with us so that others can see an example of what one couple’s Ethical Will looks like.
“To our Children and Grandchildren:
Material items are not nearly as important as the values and ethics that have been the foundation of our family. We pray as you journey through life that you will keep in mind what we have valued and what we have built our family upon. We love you and hope that these principles will help guide you:
- Relationship with Christ – First and foremost, we valued our relationship with Jesus Christ as our Savior. We looked to Him for guidance when going through trials and praised him for the highs and lows given to us. He served as the foundation for our marriage and we always strived to honor Him. It is our wish that each of you will have a personal relationship with Christ and that you will invest time to study his Word and pray for His guidance and direction. He is a good God and a constant companion.
- Serve Others – Be kind to others and sacrificially give of your time and resources to help your community. Love your neighbors and show God’s love by serving those who are in need. You will find that you will learn and grow from the experience. Never lose sight of how rewarding it is to help others.
- Hard Work – Whatever you set your sights on, be sure to do it with all your effort. Realize that certain things will require hard work and challenges will pop up along the way. Look at the challenges as opportunities to grow. Do not be afraid to take on new responsibilities or to further your education if it suits your life and family.
- Family Time – Take time out of the hustle and bustle to spend with family. We pray that you will maintain close relationships with family and that you will learn how valuable family is. Cherish each moment that you spend together and establish new traditions.
- Have Fun – Life is short so be sure to include some fun along the way. Take time to enjoy nature, whether in the mountains or at the beach. Some of our favorites were always spending time in the Outer Banks or hiking in the mountains. Travel the world and see new places. Pick up a new hobby or work on a new talent or skill. Just be sure that you are doing something that brings you and your family joy.”
Note that every person’s Ethical Will is unique to them. You may have different values, beliefs, or priorities than these, but this is an example of one way an Ethical Will can be set up. (For another style of Ethical Will, read John’s Ethical Will.)
Ready to create your own Ethical Will? Download our Ethical Will How-To Guide. If you feel comfortable when you’re finished, share it with us! We’re building a collection of Ethical Wills to use as examples for others, and we’d love to add your thoughts.
[Disclaimer: We are sharing this Ethical Will with the authors’ written permission. All names have been changed to ensure confidentiality.]