The Wealth of Your Life:
A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Ethical Will

A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Ethical Will

A 36 page four-color illustrated guidebook provides a comfortable, five step path for you, or a loved one, to create an Ethical Will.

Learn More


I  highly recommend Susan Turnbull’s The Wealth of Your Life.  This updated, thorough guide takes an important, meaningful, and somewhat daunting task and breaks it down into doable, step-by-step actions that anyone can do in a timely fashion. Taking the time to capture and write what matters most to you is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones — at any age!  Having lost my mother suddenly to a brain aneurism when she was 44, I continue to long for her and so wish she had written her Ethical Will for me and my brothers (and our children).  While I’m grateful for her necklace around my neck, I feel the loss of the story behind it that none of us will ever know.

Emily Bouchard, co-author, Estate Planning for the Blended Family

Ethical Wills

What is an ethical will?

An ethical will is a letter or recording created for your descendants or other loved ones. Although often shared during life, an ethical will is created intentionally to last beyond your lifetime – for the purpose of communicating feelings, values, wisdom, stories, wishes, advice or important information.

History: A fresh take on an ancient practice

The impulse to communicate what we think is important to those we love is as old as the human race. But it was 12th century Jewish men who began to formalize an oral tradition into a written one. The earliest medieval documents were personal treatises on how to live an ethical life, written from father to son.

The stern, prescriptive tone of the old Hebrew ethical wills no longer fits our modern worldly sensibilities, but this wise and ancient practice is now enjoying a renaissance. It speaks to people of all ages and traditions who are seeking a pathway to reflect on their own life journey, and to lovingly and naturally reinforce the core values they hope they are transmitting to those who will follow them.

Read some examples of contemporary ethical wills

Spiritual and legal perspectives on ethical wills

“The young doctor, father of two little girls, knew …”

Read this lawyer’s excellent background article on ethical wills that appeared in the ACTEC Journal

“Do you have a will? We know we should – our culture and and experience tell us that. As an affluent and acquisitive lot, we want and have, lots of things…”

Read this minister’s thoughts on the contemporary relevance of ethical wills