Writing Your Ethical Will or Legacy Letter

Published by Kerry Meath-Sinkin

Last year I was sitting down with one of our clients. They are a wonderful, energetic, and very active couple in our community. Towards the end of our meeting we began talking about a friend of theirs who had recently passed away. While it was a sad story because of his younger passing, the beauty of the story, was that in the last year of his life he really “lived it.” He spent time with his family, travelling around the world, and doing what he loved. He was also took some time to create what some may call an ethical will or a compilation of stories that he could use to share his values and wisdom with his family.

As a financial advisor we spend a lot of time helping our clients set up their estate plans, and the financial legacy they would like to leave for their family. But an area that can sometimes get overlooked is the softer, but often more lasting component. The stories, values, and reasons why a family has chosen to set up their estate in a specific way, or the reason why certain values are so important to them. What do they hope to pass on to their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren?

This got me really interested in finding ways to help our clients explore and share their values with their family in a meaningful way. After researching the topic further, I found a Minneapolis based company called Celebrations of Life that was founded to help individuals and families go through a proven process to help them develop documents sharing important stories, values, and wisdom.  The founders Barry Baines, a family medicine, hospice and palliative care doctor, who currently serves as a local hospice medical director, and Tracie Ward, a long-time business and non-profit consultant, have been training, coaching, licensing and certifying foundations, non-profits, health-care organizations, individuals, and hospice and palliative care communities for over a decade.

After talking with them about how to most effectively serve our clients, I decided to become a trained facilitator. This allows me to help our clients write their own unique experiences, life lessons, or the pieces of wisdom that they want to share with their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. Research and surveys show that these types of documents often become more meaningful than anything else that can be left behind for family members.

We are excited to add this additional offering to our clients and hope that it can be a meaningful experience both to our clients during their life and to their families for generations to come. We make the process easy and can provide you with as much or as little support as you would like. A workbook (soon online platform) is provided to help you go through everything step by step. This is something we can incorporate into your review meetings or set up separate times to work through the information. The time you spend thinking and writing depends on you, it can range from a few days to months or years. After completing the process clients can verbally share this information with their family, or we can help put together a family book, or include in estate planning material.

If you are interested in getting started, please send me a note to get started and stay tuned for upcoming events on the topic!





Kerry Meath-Sinkin is a registered investment advisor and financial planner based in Minneapolis. She graduated with honors from Brown, and works with clients not only in the Twin Cities, but nationwide. Kerry believes in a holistic approach to finance.  She works with her clients to develop a practical plan with their finances, while also working on their inner relationship with money. Together, these aspects allow clients to feel healthy, abundant, and free. Kerry also has a passion for healthy living, is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, and public health educator. Click here to learn more about Kerry.

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