How to Write an Ethical Will in Six Easy Steps

A Spiritual Ethical Will is a document that is guides the actions and lives of the heirs of the document’s author. While the title “spiritual ethical will” makes it sound intimidating and very formal, these document actually are very intimate and personal. Their format and content reflect the personality and desires of the author.

Step #1 – Decide Who to Address the Ethical Will To

The first step in writing an ethical will is to decide who you want to address your ethical essay or ethical letter to. You have many options. The first option is to create a general ethical will that is addressed to all of humanity, the second option is to address your ethical will to a group of people such as your family, and your final option is to address it to a specific person.

Step #2 – Select a Format for Your Ethical Will

The second step is to select a format for your ethical will. There are three main formats that you can use. The first format is the essay format. Essay style ethical wills will have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. They tend to be two or more pages in length. The second style is the ethical letter. This style is formatted just like a personal letter. It is addressed to a person or group of people, it has a greeting, a body of text and signature. The final format is an ethical will poem.

Step #3 – Pick a Tone for the Ethical Will

Step three is to pick a tone for the ethical will. Traditionally ethical wills have been very religious in nature and therefore they have a somewhat formal tone. This is an option that you have, however, you can make the tone of your ethical will more informal, more humorous or more cynical. You will want to select a tone that matches your personality.

Step #4 – Create an Environment to Write In

The writing process is the most intimidating aspect of writing an ethical will. Many people doubt their writing abilities because they think it is beyond their abilities. However, the writing process is greatly aided by having somewhere quiet to write. A desk, a light and a specific time period that has been set aside to write will all help you to complete the writing process.

Step #5 – Brainstorm

The fifth step is to brainstorm ideas for your ethical will. This process will both create topics for your to write about, as well as create an outline to follow when writing your ethical will. Tools that will help you complete this step include a notepad, notecards, family photo albums and old diaries.

Step #6 – Write Your Ethical Will

After brainstorming and outlining for your ethical will you will be ready to write the first draft of your ethical will. A good way to approach this process is to sit down and to write continuously for 15 minutes using your outline as a guide. During this first pass you do not need to worry about format or word flow. The only thing that you will be thinking about is getting words, thoughts and memories down on paper. Later you can go back, edit and smooth things out.


Learning how to write an ethical will is like learning how to write any other type of document. It is going to take practice to perfect. While you can get by with just one draft of your ethical will, most people revise their spiritual ethical will several times before finalizing a version for their heirs.

Writing an ethical will has nothing to do with your legal will. It can be shared with family and friends while you are alive.

You may also may want to know that ethical wills are now being used with hospice patients to help them and their families to go through the grief process.

High schools are having teenagers and parents each write an ethical will letter, share them one evening at the school, for the purpose of increasing communication and understanding.


  1. Hi, thank you for writing down this tips in writing an Ethical Will as I’ll be needing it for my College English Class. We will be having a seatwork tomorrow regarding this one.


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