Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learning About Ethical Wills

I first read about ethical wills in a magazine article titled "Gift of a Lifetime". The writer referred to a book -- Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper by Barry Baines, M. D. -- which I bought and read with interest. It offers an excellent overview on ethical wills, recommended formats and questions to help you get started, and provides several samples of ethical wills people have written.

I also took a look at Dr. Baines website,, and decided to contact him about a program he offers for workshop leaders. Since I had facilitated many workshops and support groups over the past 20 years, I decided to order the Ethical Wills Workshop Leader's Guide offered on the website with the idea that I might begin "teaching what I need to learn" sometime in the future.

After receiving and reviewing the workshop leader's guide, I decided to first create and offer a short talk about ethical wills at our local senior centers and OASIS Adult Activity Center. Since I had prevously done several community talks in my previous job as community relations coordinator for an in-home care provider, I was able to schedule and present three 1-1 1/2 hour talks over a period of 6 months period in Eugene-Springfield. The talks were well-received by interested groups ranging from 8 - 22 people, most of whom were women 60+ in age -- with some husbands along with their wives and a rare few other elderly men by themselves.

Creating and presenting the ethical will introductory talk -- which I called "Your Life's Legacy: Blessing Future Generations" -- was (and still is) an enjoyable experience for me. In future blog posts, I will share highlights of the talk and the experiential "reflection exercises" I use to help people begin the process of creating their own ethical will.
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