No one likes to think of death. However, one thing is for sure. Tomorrow is promised to none of us. Some profound songwriter summed it up pretty well: “We’re not getting out of here alive.”
When confronted with the certainty of death, some run to their attorneys to devise strategies for the division of their assets. These may range from simplistic wills to complex trust accounts. Most estate planning tools include provisions for guardianship for infant children, as well as medical proxies and appointment of someone to take over fiscal concerns. The legal lingo is often standard. It seldom represents a declaration of an individual’s hopes and dreams for subsequent generations. It rarely documents the past or a value system.
There is no question that a bequest of money or some other financial consideration is valuable. Few will deny the benefit to increasing wealth, albeit at the expense of losing a loved one. The price of a family heirloom may be quite worthy. However, there are other legacies worth passing on. Quite simply, a person’s last words should include more than a distribution of valuables. They should contain provisions of a non-tangible nature, which are of infinite value.
Ethical wills date back to biblical times. They can pass on spiritual beliefs, as well as family traditions. There is no set format to an ethical will. It can be long or short. It can be a set of rules for future generations. It can be a documentation of a family’s past. It can be a request for forgiveness or an acceptance of perceived wrongdoings.
A professional writer recognizes the sensitivity of putting together an ethical will. It is a gift in itself. We will be doing free seminars on this topic. Please leave us a note if you are interested in attending one.