Ethical Wills

January 10, 2011

The process of estate planning has many aspects. One one level you may plan the transfer of your wealth to your loved ones free of creditor claims and tax liabilities. But on another level, estate planning also involves planning for a time when you are no longer around to provide guidance or support to your loved ones. For many it can be difficult to cope with the fact that you will no longer be able to fulfill your long held sense of responsibility to your loved ones.
An ethical will is an effective way to address this dilemma. The tradition actually dates back to early biblical times when ethical wills were passed down orally, but they are now composed in writing. The writing of ethical wills has been firmly embedded in the Judaic tradition for generations, but the practice is now widely accepted throughout the estate planning community.
In an ethical will you may share your moral and spiritual values. It is a method to convey the lessons you learned in life to your loved ones. An ethical will can be looked at as a heartfelt final letter to your family. You let your loved ones know how you feel about them, share personally acquired wisdom, and get things off your chest if you find that to be necessary. In short, it is a way to transmit to future generations what makes you and your family who they are. People usually find the composition of an ethical a defining time that is as beneficial to the author as the content is to the readers.

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