Another Way to Write a Will

by MSO
a way to make writing a will and more personal and enjoyable experience

To most people, willing your treasured possessions to those you love is acknowledging that you are going to die. It shouldn’t feel that way, Mitsuo Aoki created a way to help people make writing a will a more personal and enjoyable experience.

Many of us have not written a will, in fact surveys say anywhere from 55 to 70 percent of North American adults do not have a will. The majority of these people surveyed say that they just don’t have time to get it done. But what they are really saying is that they are avoiding writing their wills because they don’t believe that they are going to die and by actually writing a will they would be acknowledging that their death is inevitable.

In addition, the language of wills is often impersonal and is no more than a catalogue of your personal items rhymed off, one by one, with a beneficiary’s name beside it. It’s often a hurried, impersonal process where “feelings” are eliminated.

But, there is another way to write your will.

Mitsuo Aoki was a theologian, minister, college professor and founder of the University of Hawaii’s Department of Religion but, perhaps most importantly he taught thousands of people how to live their dying. Only through acknowledging our death, are we able to find out what is most important and essential to our lives. He also had some good advice to help people overcome the roadblock that seems to stop people from writing their wills and developed an exercise to help them through it.

He suggests that people think of ten cherished possessions that they own and then write them down on a sheet of paper with the reason why they are important to you. Are they items passed down from generations before? Did you purchase the item for a special occasion?

Then choose a person to whom you would most like to give each item. Take your time and really think about it.

Aoki then asks that you answer these questions once you have decided.

What was this experience like for you?

What kind of feelings did you become aware of during this experience?

What was it like for you to describe your valued possessions?

What was it like to try to choose some person to give your possessions to?

What kind of feelings do you now have about your possessions? Your loved ones?

What feelings do you now have about writing “wills”?

In the end Mitsuo Aoki’s exercise is more like taking an enjoyable trip down memory lane rather than facing your death and ultimately, it will ensure the future for your family.

Read more about Mitsuo Aoki





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