It’s widely acknowledged that the time to think about estate-planning or writing your will is well before you think you’ll need one. Whether it’s a marriage, the birth of a first child, a sudden windfall or financial success, an illness, the death of a parent or other loved one, or any other life changing event, we’re often faced with the prospect of addressing this issue far sooner than we ever expected. It can be a daunting process because it not only requires that we confront the fact of our own mortality, but also causes us to take a serious look at how we have lived, whom we have affected and been affected by, and the legacy we want to leave behind.

Luckily there are lots of experts out there ready to help us get our financial and legal affairs in order: lawyers and wealth advisors who can apprise us of our options and ensure that our tangible assets are distributed in a way that gives us peace of mind. But what about all of the intangible characteristics, experiences, and beliefs that constitute a large part of our lives? How can we ensure that the qualitative portion of our lives is not lost to our loved ones and descendants?

Read the full article about ethical wills by Sarah Trzepacz at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.