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New book is helping people leave a lasting legacy

Booming Forward: Leave a Lasting Legacy
Posted at 1:22 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-27 15:22:00-04

Author Steve Leder has spent the past 35 years as a Rabbi helping countless people mourn their loved ones.

He came up with 12 essential questions to help tell your story and create an "ethical will" in his new book For You When I Am Gone.

What is an ethical will and why should you have one? Leder responds, "Let's talk about what an ethical will is not. It is not the same thing as a last will and testament. For most people, the last word they hear from their loved one who has died... the final final word is in the form of a boiler plate, legalese, dry document written by someone who barely knew them. And it's entirely about who gets what and how much and when."

Instead of material things that don't offer comfort or support, he says to shift focus onto something that will.

He says, "What will is their story, their truths, what they really believed in how they sought to live, what they learned from failure, what they understood love to be, what it means to be a good person, what they regret, what they hope for you, how they want to be remembered."

This is what leads to the questions you'll ask yourself in telling your story.

The very first question is, "When you look at your life, what do you regret?"

Leder says what most people regret is not something they did, but something they didn't do. For instance, the time they didn't show up, the words they didn't speak, the path they didn't walk.

The most important time to start is right now. "Don't wait. When is it too soon to share your truth with the people you love? Never. When is it too late? Never," he says.

Because remember, your regrets are what you didn't do.

"You know, I didn't know that my last conversation with my dad was my last conversation with my dad. I had no idea. And you really never know. So don't wait," he advises.

You can find more about his book here, and visit to see all the Booming Forward reports sponsored by Optum.