Be Here Then

why and how to write & create an ethical will, hospice card, or other legacy

Part I: Read this first to get started

Are you one of those who feel overwhelmed by the idea of writing an ethical will or legacy letter?  Are you a hospice volunteer or palliative care nurse wanting to help a patient write theirs, but unsure where to start?  We’ll go through the basics together here on this blog, step by step, in later posts.  For starters, read points number 1 – 3.  (Part II will complete our overview.)

1.  Don’t worry about getting it right, right away.  Remember: you can always change your mind.  You can always rewrite your ethical will.  You can throw it away, or start over.   The important thing is to get started.  You’ve read this far – so far so good!

2.  In our opinion, really the only “wrong” ethical will or Lifespan Legacy letter is one which is unkind, hurtful, provocative.  We’ll get to that issue later in The Rule of No.

3.  The first step involves making two very practical and related decisions:

  • First, why are you writing this?  What is your goal, what do you hope to accomplish by creating your ethical will or legacy letter?
  • Second, who is your audience?  Who will be reading it, who do you intend it for?

For example, wanting to write a traditional ethical will to give to your children’s potential guardians is a different project than writing a Lifespan Legacy letter that winds up as a family history, or the beginnings of a memoir!

You may refine your goals as you work on this project, so don’t worry too much about the details.  Come up with a reply to the two main questions – this will give you at least a direction in which to start.   Start somewhere.  You don’t have to get it right, right away.

REFLECT:   Stop, give some thought to points 1-3, and come back to the blog when you have answered your two main questions.  If you already have, go directly to Part II.



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