Ethical Wills: Share Your Thoughts, Ideas, and Beliefs

July 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

Estate planning is pertinent to ensure financially stability for your loved ones. The most ubiquitous document in an estate plan is the legal will where you tell your loved ones what you want them to have. However, there is also something called an ethical will. Ethical wills tell your loved ones what you want them to know. They provide the opportunity to share your feelings, wishes, regrets, gratitude, and advice in addition to explaining your legal will. They can also be used to explain how money and possessions should be allocated.

In order to start writing an ethical will, it is important to write down some thoughts and ideas about what you would like your loved ones to know.  After collecting and organizing your thoughts, you can start drafting a letter and keep it with other legal documents in a secure location. Fortunately, you can revise and edit the letter anytime you want to ensure its relevance to your loved ones. Just be aware that your will executor must have access to this document.

If you need help or assistance in writing your ethical will, there are plenty of resources available. One is “ethicalwills.com,” which provides useful information, examples, and different materials you can purchase. Another is Personal Legacy Advisors which is a company that offers coaching, editing, writing, and audio or video recorded ethical wills. Finally, seeing a trusted attorney can help ensure all the information you want on the ethical will is stated and it is secured in an extremely safe environment.

As a note, an ethical will does not qualify as a “legal document,” thus it is not required when administering your estate plan. Also, be sure not contradict anything with your legal will and estate plan. This is where an attorney may be needed. Overall, ethical wills provide a great opportunity to share your values and beliefs with your loved ones.

JDKatz, P.C. is a full-service law firm focused on tax law and estate planning. We are dedicated to minimizing your existing liability and risks while providing valuable tax planning to streamline your tax issues in the future. Please call us at 301-913-2948 to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our trusted attorneys.

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