Part of the aging process includes handling practical matters such as ensuring one’s affairs are in order. If you’ve not already done so, in the future you’ll most likely prepare a “Will” directing distribution of your assets and personal effects. But have you given any thought to crafting an emotional will?
What is the purpose of an emotional will? It’s a way to document and pass on the significant thoughts, moments, events, and values that have impacted and shaped your life. It’s an opportunity to leave behind your best advice for living a happy and successful life. It may also include a few “what not to dos.”
Since an emotional will is not a legal document, it can be whatever you want it to be. It could be in written form or even in video format. The resulting document (or other means used to document your emotional legacy) will be a product of your personality, creativity and style. Assuming you’ve managed to reach your 50s or beyond, you should have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to draw from.
Here are four very good reasons:
To preserve and pass down your gems of wisdom. In some cultures and instances, elders are a part of “multigenerational” households, so values and other emotional mindsets are organically passed along to each generation. However, this is not the trend for most of us, and younger generations may have little or no contact with their elders.
Creating an emotional will can provide benefits for you as well as your recipients. It’s a great way to reflect on your life and gain perspective. An emotional will can reveal your unfulfilled desires, hopes and dreams, prompting you to correct course as needed to accomplish and experience your best life going forward.
No one else shares the knowledge, values and experiences you’ve accumulated over your lifetime. You are the only one that can author your unique perspectives on life.
You have an opportunity to provide what you believe to be timeless advice to younger generations, which may help them navigate ever-changing social, political, cultural, religious, and social beliefs and trends.
In exploring this subject, I found an excellent guide to assist you in creating your emotional will. It is in the form a downloadable PDF that can be found at EMOTIONAL WILL. The following are some paraphrased suggestions from the referenced guide as well as some original ones:
Once you’ve created your emotional will, be sure to store it in a safe, accessible place. You might print copies to be stored with your legal will or save a digital version on the cloud or some other online source for safe-keeping. Make sure the person handling your estate can access and distribute it upon your death. You may consider sharing your emotional will with its recipient(s) while you are still living.
Sure, folks generally like to inherit money, property and other assets. But an emotional will has “intrinsic value” and is priceless in nature. It is something to be cherished by your loved ones and future generations long after you’re gone.
Please join in the conversation. Do you think drafting an emotional will is a good idea? If so, what are 3 timeless pieces of advice you’d leave behind?