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What is an Ethical Will?

Don’t wait until tomorrow

Do you know the names of all eight of your great-grandparents?

If you can’t cite them off the top of your head, don’t feel too bad. According to Baines, not many people taking part in ethical will writing workshops can name even four of their great-grandparents, so it’s likely that your great grandkids won’t know your name either.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t want to know.

Genealogy, fueled by search engines and software programs that help a person re-construct their family tree, is already one of the most popular hobbies in the United States, according to Haines.

People are fascinated by the past and want to know as much as they can about their ancestors. The problem is that that information can be hard to gather, even in light of today’s technology.

For caregivers who want to protect their legacy (and that of their elderly loved ones), Baines says that it’s never too early to begin work on an ethical will. He points out that most ethical wills cannot be completed in one sitting, and will require a significant amount of thought in order to be impactful, so caregivers should consider starting as soon as possible.

“It’s best not to wait to capture this information,” he says, “nobody is promised tomorrow, and you never know if there is going to be enough time.”

How Reminiscing & Remembering the Past Helps Seniors
Ways to Keep Track of Family History Online
Print a checklist on how to gather information for senior 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.

people are talking

thank you for sharing

Weeping. Too too adorable

Astonishing mushrooms ! Thanks for sharing.


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