Can a Legacy Letter Improve my Estate Plan?

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Wisdom can be shared through a legacy letter or an ethical will.

Life is about more than money.

People can be rich and have very little in their bank accounts when they die.

Although leaving an inheritance can provide monetary support to loved ones, values and wisdom last longer.

According to a recent Kiplinger article titled “Remember, You’re Worth More Than Your Money,” an ethical will underscores this truth.

Writing a legacy letter creates depth in an estate plan.
Personal stories and family values can be shared in a legacy letter.

What is an ethical will?

An ethical will is also known as a legacy letter.

Although it does not take the place of a last will and testament or a revocable living trust, it can provide depth to your estate planning.

An ethical will is written to share reflections on life.

Some people include details of places, relationships, and milestones in their legacy letters.

Rather than simple facts, you can share your feelings and thoughts on challenges and lessons.

Does your family have long-standing traditions?

Explain the meaning of them to encourage their remembrance.

You do not have to wait until you are nearing death to write or outline your legacy letter.

Rather, you can constantly be reflecting on your life and making note of experiences, lessons, and milestones as they occur.

Although you may be tempted to limit your ethical will to descriptions of highlights and accomplishments, your loved ones will benefit from hearing about how you overcame failures or obstacles as well.

In fact, this can be encouraging when they face their own struggles in life.

If there are particular bits of wisdom you would like to share to help others avoid similar mistakes, an ethical will can be a great tool.

By writing a legacy letter, you will be able to share values with your children, grandchildren, and even generations yet unborn, even if you die before you can have these conversations with them.

In addition to an ethical will, you can provide instructions in your estate plan to reward particular behaviors, character traits, and actions.

Consequently, you can align your values with your financial resources for generations.

Although leaving a legacy letter allows you to share your story, life lessons, and counsel, you will still need to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan.

Reference: Kiplinger (June 11, 2022) “Remember, You’re Worth More Than Your Money”

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