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What is an Ethical Will?

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Turning a blank sheet into something meaningful

A blank sheet of paper can be a daunting obstacle for most people, so Baines suggests that caregivers and their elderly loved ones start with simple ideas:

Do you have a particular success you had that you want to share with your descendants?

How about a failure and its corresponding lesson?

What’s one of your biggest regrets in life?

What traditional or value do you most want to see continue in your family?

Baines also feels that there is extreme value in joining a group of people writing ethical wills. He says that people’s energy level increases when they get together to share ideas and inspiration.

Guided exercises may also help jumpstart a caregiver’s creativity. Baines has written several books that include a variety of exercises to help people overcome writer’s block.

One such exercise, highlighted by the hypothetical at the beginning of this article, is called, “linking the generations.” This drill involves thinking about the questions you would want to ask your deceased ancestors and then providing your answers to those questions for future generations.

What is a Will and Why Should Every Senior Have One?
How to Keep Track of Your Family Legacy
Ways to Capture Life Stories

Ethical Wills Lend Clarity to Caregivers and Serenity to Seniors originally appeared on

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11:54AM PDT on May 30, 2012

This seems like a lovely idea... and one I had not heard of in quite this way before.

8:59AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Many thanks

8:25AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Wow, what a powerful idea!

5:08PM PDT on May 21, 2012

I wrote letters to my family members to put in with my legal will. Asked for them back several months ago as I need to update the letters. Better get to it! Thank you for the inspiration.

10:22PM PDT on May 20, 2012

My father-in-law passed away last September. He left numerous photo albums of people who were unnamed. We have no idea who they are. I regret that we did not look at these photos while he was living, then we would be able to tell our son who his ancestors were. Most of us wait too late to ask these questions.

5:58PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Even just sitting down with your grandmother and her photo album and recording the conversation opens up quite a bit of knowledge even of her childhood friends and the places the family lived.

Thanks for the article.

2:30PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Good info to have. Thanks for the article Anne.

11:31PM PDT on May 19, 2012

My father wrote his family history for a booklet, of course, also briefly mentioning my mother's background history. It could have been far more comprehensive - that's why I think it should not be left till someone is at an advanced age. I really value it because his life experiences were so different to today's world.

3:01PM PDT on May 19, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:48PM PDT on May 19, 2012

aww very interesting

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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