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On this Memorial Day, write an “ethical will” to tell how you want to be remembered

JO KLINE CEBUHAR first encountered the ancient concept of creating an ethical will while she was a volunteer at a hospice in Iowa. The wills, nonlegal documents that pass on heartfelt wisdom to future generations — were being used to help dying patients share their final thoughts. She became taken with the idea of passing on personal lessons — not just assets. And before long, she was creating one of her own. Rather than putting pen to paper, though, Ms. Cebuhar decided to put her ethical will on a PowerPoint slide show. That way, she could share intimate moments by using family photos, humor and even quotations that reflect her philosophy of happiness and gratitude. One favorite quote was delivered by Chuckles the Clown, a fictional character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” She keeps the slide show as a computer file that’s ready to go. […]