Monday, June 11, 2007

Write an ethical will.

Last weekend, Kwadjo at I watched Emmanuel's Gift. It's a documentary about a Ghanaian athlete, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. He was born with a severely deformed right leg, a challenge in most every society. Disabled people in Ghana (and many other places) are generally expected to beg, but Emmanuel's mother expected better for him. And on her deathbed she talked to her teenage son about her hopes and expectations for his life. The conversation had a profound impact on Emmanuel's life; he called it her 'gift' to him.

Emmanuel Yeboah is now a leading advocate for disabled people in Ghana. His organization offers scholarships for disabled children and stipends for physically challenged athletes. His work also led to the passing of the Persons with Disability Bill in Parliament on June 23, 2006. Great work!

The film reminded me of a recent show I hear on NPR about ethical wills. These are documents that are either separate from or integrated with traditional wills that express your fundamental beliefs and allow those beliefs to be shared with the people who love and care for you. According to, ethical wills often center on the following themes:

* Love
* Great life lessons
* Asking and giving forgiveness
* Core personal values and beliefs
* Core spiritual values and beliefs
* Hopes, dreams, blessings, and expectations for future generations

For help creating your ethical will, contact your attorney and peruse these books:

* The Wealth of Your Life by Susan B. Turnbull
* Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper by Barry Baines

These are also important themes to talk about while you're alive. Preparing for the end of life can be difficult and uncomfortable, but there are many resources to make the process easier. Learn more about

* Organ donation
* Living will preparation
* Burial alternatives
* Body donation

And don't forget to check out Emmanuel's Gift (ideally with someone who can supplement the translation from Twi - thanks Kwadjo!). It is an inspirational film that will encourage you to make the most of your life. Then you'll definitely have something to share in your ethical will.

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference." - Elie Wiesel


Karama said...

Want to see another film featuring physically challenged athletes? Check out Murderball.

Karama said...

To support physically challenged athletes worldwide, donate you time, talents, money or materials to the Challenged Athletes Foundation or the International Paralympic Committee.

Angie Hartford said...

Remember, too that simply writing a will, a living will, a living trust...each of these is a highly ethical act, in that it clearly communicates your wishes and expectations to your family, while offering them the best financial and legal protection you can. Death and dying are hard, emotional times, without adding to the chaos of legal insecurity. Legacies come in many packages.

Karama said...

Thanks for this reminder, Angie. I hope you enjoyed your visit to So what can I do. Thanks for your comment and please, visit again soon.