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Use an Ethical Will to Convey More Than Assets


Use an Ethical Will to Convey More Than Assets

The start of a new year is a time when most of us reflect on the year that has passed and our hopes for the year to come. This is a perfect time to think about adding an ethical will to your estate plan. Known also as a “legacy letter,” an ethical will is not a legal document, but an expression of your personal beliefs and lessons you would like to share with children and grandchildren. It could become the start of a family history, to be shared across many generations.

The Huffington Post’s recent article, “Want to Pass on Your Values as Well as Your Assets? Consider an Ethical Will,” says that you can think of an ethical will as an ancillary to a will: a will passes on the tangible, while the ethical will imparts the intangible.

This is a great time to review your estate planning. You may want to consider adding an ethical will. If you don’t have an estate plan, place this item at the top of your to-do list in the new year.

Preparing an ethical will can mean a lot of soul searching because you’re trying to describe your real values, as well as the most important lessons, thoughts, ideas, and experiences you want to pass on to your family. This can include things like how you’d hope your heirs use their inheritance and the traditions and values that you’d want your heirs to maintain.

These are all things that can be an important and invaluable component of your estate plan.

An ethical will isn’t legally binding, but it may be an incredibly meaningful point of reference for your loved ones as they go through their lives without you.

You should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney, even if your affairs are relatively simple. He or she can guide you through the practical steps and could act as a sounding board as you think about what you’d like to add to your ethical will.

There are several ways to create an ethical will: written, videos, musical collages, etc. Whatever your format, just make sure to tell several people that you have created such a message and where they will be able to find it. Consider that your insights and wisdom may be shared for many generations, and that it is possible that the legacy in your ethical will could outlast any material items in your estate.

Do you live in Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach counties in Florida? Laws are constantly changing-- has your estate plan been reviewed in the last 2-3 years? Call me (954-888-1747) right away for peace of mind. I can help!

  • My practice is exclusively estate planning and probate,
  • I have prepared numerous estate plans in 16 years of practice,
  • I have administered estates and trusts through Probate all over Florida,
  • I am a Certified Financial Planner Professional™, and
  • I am here for YOU today and there for your FAMILY tomorrow.

Reference: Huffington Post (December 19, 2016) “Want to Pass on Your Values as Well as Your Assets? Consider an Ethical Will”

Why would we recommend D.T.F.? Several Reasons: Your ability to explain complex estate problems, clearly and patiently; your total lack of arrogance and pretense; a strong feeling that you are motivated by what you perceive is best for your client, rather than what would generate the largest legal fees; finally, and importantly, you are a lovely guy. A.C.

Two words cannot sum up the entire process of creating my “trust.” I enjoyed your attention to detail, your patience of explaining terms and conditions until I understood, also giving me copies to read and understand. Thank you for your suggestions on what was best for “me” but still allowing me to make my choice. Most of all, thank you for thinking of “me.” Wells Fargo said “you were the best” I cannot deny that. Again thank you very much for everything. Anna is an asset or a compliment to the firm. She is warm and very caring. It was great doing business. Thank you.