At its core, a will is about passing along a legacy to those who
remain after your departure from this life.
Certainly, in such a fundamental communication, there should be room
for creative expression of the things that are of fundamental
importance to the writer of the will. Things not just of material
value, but other things of value to the will-writer as a human being.
Just as certainly, the will is also a legal document, and as one
commenter noted, has to be written with care and precision.
There are numerous books that focus on both the legal aspects and
broader human aspects of preparing a will. I have listed these below.
I trust the information here fully answers your question.
However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need. If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.
All the best,
A concept known as the "ethical will" envisions passing along personal
values as well as material possessions. Some of the key documents in
this movement are:
Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper
Barry K. Baines
...Defining an ethical will as "a vehicle for clarifying and
communicating the meaning in our lives to our families and
communities," Baines draws on an ancient practice that he has put to
use in hospice work with more than 3,000 people as they prepared for
death. A benefit to the dying, their loved ones and people not facing
an imminent death but wanting to clarify and communicate their
experience, ethical wills can be letters, lists, confessions, requests
and a host of other kinds of communication. Baines discusses their
history, their significance and how to make them, with numerous
Other books by Baines include:
The Ethical Will Writing Guide Workbook
The Ethical Will Resource Kit
Other books central to this theme:
Women's Lives, Women's Legacies: Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to
Future Generations: Creating Your Own Spiritual-Ethical Will
An Ethical Will: Grandpa Teaches Values
...A love letter filled with good humor and good advice. A model for
anyone to prepare their own Ethical Will.
Hebrew Ethical Wills
An important part of writing a will is the legal aspects, and there is
no shortage of how-to books. But the best of best inform you about
the process, and leave room for style, communication and creativity,
both from the authors of the books, as well as for the author of the
will. Among these are:
ABA Guide to Wills and Estates
The American Bar Association
...Written by a group of America's top lawyers, this book deals with
those two certainties of life--death and taxes--providing expert,
rock-solid legal counsel at a fraction of what it would cost to go to
How to Plan Your Total Estate With a Will & Living Will, Without the
Lawyer's Fees: The American Will Kit
Benji O. Anosike
...Written for those who want to draft their own wills, Anosike's
volume is in workbook style with text, forms, and worksheets that
provide an outline of things to consider and procedures for
constructing the instruments necessary for an estate plan. The author
also provides forms for constructing a living will for each state as
well as the legal requirements for a valid will in every jurisdiction.
There are useful details in this book, including a sample letter of
instructions to an executor.
...also by Anosike:
How to Draw Up Your Own Will Without a Lawyer: Why You Can't Afford to
Live or Die Without One
Your Will & Estate Plan: How to Protect Your Estate and Your Loved Ones
Harvey J. Platt
...Platt has designed his book to prepare the reader to become better
informed to participate in the planning process with estate
professionals. He is clearly an advocate of the living trust, the
popular device that allows individuals to place their assets in trust
while they are still alive. The trustor retains control of the assets
during his or her lifetime, with heirs avoiding expensive and
time-consuming probate procedures after the trustor's death. Platt's
treatment of the topic is expansive and timely. He devotes entire
chapters to the unique problems of people with AIDS and for those with
children with special needs.
And if you really want to do some heavy-lifting, there's a
comprehensive but more-accessible-than-most legal textbook:
Wills, Trusts, and Estates (Casebook)
...The new Seventh Edition retains the late Jesse Dukeminier?s unique
blend of wit, erudition, insight, and playfulness and covers all the
key topics in a logical, clear organization. Included are interesting
cases that are not only fun to read, but fun for professors to teach
as well. Cases are enhanced and connected to broader legal principles
by well-written notes, questions, and problems and cartoons,
illustrations, and photographs provide humorous interruptions and
visual commentary at appropriate places within the text.
The Procrastinator's Guide to Wills and Estate Planning
...attorney Eric Matlin cuts through the legalese of most estate
planning guides with a step-by-step breakdown of the process that can
put everyone's mind at ease.
We The People's Guide to Estate Planning : A Do-It-Yourself Plan for
Creating a Will and Living Trust
...We The People's Guide to Estate Planning makes planning for your
future as painless as possible?all without the added hassle of hiring
a lawyer. This practical, nuts-and-bolts guide covers all the basics
of do-it-yourself estate planning, and covers everything you need to
know about living trusts, wills, probate, and estate taxes. Extra
resources?a glossary of estate planning terminology; a section on
frequently asked questions; samples of effective living trusts and a
last will and testament; as well as worksheets and essential
information on how to settle an estate?make this the best resource
available for this important step in planning for the future. You'll
have all the information you need to understand the legal language of
a will or living trust and learn how to seek state-specific laws and
customs so you can tailor your plans accordingly...In addition, you
can download sample documents from which you can create your own.
Some very personal reflections of wills and the process of creating them:
What Won't Be in My Will: A Personal Journal to Guide Loved Ones
Susan Fielder Mears
...While death is a topic most people avoid, "What Won't Be in My
Will" is a journal style workbook documenting one's life and last
wishes in a leave behind legacy for loved ones. Presented in an easy
to read and fill out format, this guidebook allows the user to
consider and organize the countless decisions and issues everyone must
This last one is a pretty idiosyncratic and personal reflection on
wills, but may be of interest:
My Will: A Legacy To The Healthy And The Sick
...It is a common practice for everyone who has acquired something or
effected anything in his life time, to take steps for securing its
continuance in the future, and to make sure that it will fall into the
hands of those who will value it and make good use of it, and it is to
ensure this that a Man makes his Will.
Lastly, I can't resist mention of this site out of the UK:
which makes available the actual wills of a number of famous folks,
including William Shakespeare, Henry VIII, and Jane Austen.
Again, I hope this listing hits the nail on the head in terms of what
you're looking for. But if there's anything else I can do for you,
just say the word, and I'm at your service.
All the best,
search strategy -- Used existing bookmarked sites, and searched Amazon
and Google for:
writing a will