Though many are unaware of its existence, an ethical will can be a valuable addition to your estate plan.
Ethical wills aren’t concerned with asset distribution after a client’s death. In fact, they’re not even legally binding. Nonetheless, this document can mean the world to your family.
Think of the influence you may have in your own family that has nothing to do with money. Do your loved ones come to you for guidance or advice? Are you a role-model for younger members of your family? Where will your family draw this support after you are gone?
You may leave behind financial resources, but what about your personal influence?
Ethical wills are used to address such matters. Think of it as a documented time-capsule, representing your world-view, outlook, core beliefs, and the wisdom you hope to pass down to your descendants. Your thoughts about moral and ethical matters; your values, beliefs and virtues; and the lessons that you learned the hard way in life but helped make you who you are, in some form or another should be the foundation
While they are traditionally based on the sharing of moral and spiritual values, there are no exact rules about what an ethical will may contain. You can share formative experiences, and you may choose to open up and display a side of yourself that your family members have never really seen.
An ethical will likely be valued by your family. Authoring an ethical will can be a cathartic experience those who are entering their twilight years.