Ethical wills can pass on lasting values.
Most people want to be remembered for the good they have done.
They want to have positive legacies with family, friends, and career.
The legacy you leave depends on how you live your life and the impact you have on others.
According to a recent Harold Net article titled “How to create an ethical will,” this is the reason ethical wills are important.
What is an “ethical will”?
First, let’s be clear on what it is not.
An ethical will is not a last will and testament.
They serve two different purposes.
Your last will and testament will be used to direct your estate through probate.
An ethical will has a more personal focus.
Through your ethical will you can explain your intentions to your loved ones, pass on wisdom and values, and share your feelings.
Specifically, you can detail why you gave a certain relative a specific memento or why one relative is receiving assets through a trust rather than an outright inheritance like another.
This can be done in writing, or through a video or an audio recording.
On that note, seeing your face or hearing your voice can make your ethical will especially meaningful to your loved ones for generations to come.
Where do you start?
Begin by writing down what matters most to you and what you desire to share with your loved ones.
After you have done this, draft your message and store it in a secure location.
Waterproofing and fireproofing will help preserve it.
Avoid keeping it in a safe deposit box because these are sealed when you die.
Some individuals choose to share their ethical wills before they die.
Others wait until they have passed for it to be shared.
It is a personal preference.
And, even more important, a personal experience.
Be sure to discuss your ethical will with your estate planning attorney so it aligns with rather than contradicts your last will and testament.
Reference: Herald Net (Nov. 6, 2029) “How to create an ethical will”