How to Write a Religious Will
- 1). Consult with your spiritual adviser on the parameters of end-of-life planning in your religion. Many faiths have very specific prohibitions in the areas of concern described below and you should be aware of them before you begin your religious will.
- 2). Draft your wishes with regard to resuscitation efforts should you become incapacitated. Contemporary medical technology often allows trauma victims to artificially sustain a heartbeat and respiration even when higher brain functioning has ceased (a phenomenon sometimes called "brain death"). Describe what steps you wish or do not wish medical personnel to take in such a situation and save your beneficiaries from facing such difficult choices.
- 3). Draft your wishes with regard to organ donation. Many faiths place restrictions on the harvesting of organs.
- 4). Draft your wishes with regard to inheritance. Some faiths place emphasis on male inheritance and first-born inheritance. In some cases it may be necessary to grant a "living gift," which would allow you to distribute your assets prior to death.
- 5). Draft your last message to your beneficiaries. This section, known sometimes as an "ethical will," represents an opportunity to convey your most cherished values and instructions to your loved ones, telling them how you hope they will live their lives.
- 6). Draft your specific requests regarding funeral arrangements.
- 7). Review your draft with your spiritual adviser to ensure that the will conforms to the dictates of your faith.
- 8). File your will with your lawyer. If you have appointed a religious authority to be your proxy with regard to end-of-life medical decisions, you should also file a copy with that person. Let your beneficiaries know of the existence of this will and the identity of your proxy, in case of emergency.