Many people today are choosing to have two wills. One will is a traditional will that decrees how property should be divided. The other will is called an ethical will. It passes down life advice and wisdom.
Ethical wills are not a new concept. They have their roots in ancient Jewish tradition. They also resemble the time honored tradition of writing words of wisdom for future generations.
The basic idea is that as we age, we do not just accumulate property that needs to be passed on to future generations. Rather, we accumulate life lessons and wisdom that would be helpful to pass on, too.
Recently, Life Health Pro published a list of reasons that people should consider ethical wills, titled, "6 reasons every advisor needs an ethical will."
The reasons include:
- To provide a vehicle by which you can leave something behind and be remembered.
- To document history and stories from which others can learn.
- To help clarify your values before you pass them on.
- To increase your own self-awareness and understanding.
- To allow you to accept past mistakes and come to terms with your own mortality.
- To give you a sense of completion and accomplishment.
If those sound like goals that you are interested in, then you should consider making an ethical will a part of your estate plan. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that an ethical will can replace the rest of your estate plan.
Contact an experienced estate planning attorney who can help guide you through this process.
Reference: Life Health Pro (February 9, 2015) "6 reasons every advisor needs an ethical will."