Many people have heard of the type of will that leaves assets to your beneficiaries. Not as many people have heard of an ethical will. Obviously, all wills should be ethical, but the term ethical will refers to something very specific. Also called a legacy letter, an ethical will is something you produce that explains the important spiritual and ethical values that you want to pass along to your beneficiaries. An ethical will can include whatever thoughts, memories, and even future hopes that you want to share with people. Many people write them for their children or grandchildren, but you can also write them to friends, colleagues, and even organizations.
How do you make an ethical will and what should you include in it? An ethical will can be written, a sound or video recording, or all of these things. When making an ethical will, you want to focus on the intangible things that you want people to know about you. For example, a big topic right now is how people are handling the pandemic and what they have learned from it. You may have family stories that you want to tell so that they don’t get lost over the generations. Maybe you want to apologize for something that happened in your life. You don’t want to shame anyone or cause pain to family or friends with your ethical will. The focus should be the legacy you want to leave behind that lets people remember you for the things that were important in your life.
When I work with you on your estate plan, I also provide guidance for your legacy plan and ethical will, including worksheets and other ways to help you figure out and include issues that are important to you. Contact me today to learn more about including your ethical will in your legacy plan!