When you think about estate planning the first thing that is going to come to mind is probably going to be passing along your financial assets to your loved ones after you die. Without question this is one of the primary goals, but there are some other things to consider as well. For one, people don’t pass away for the most part after having been in good health for the period of time preceding their death. A period of incapacity is possible, so you need to prepare for that as well. This can be done through the execution of advance health care directives and the inclusion of the appropriate durable powers of attorney.
But in addition to these practical, pragmatic steps there is another factor to take into account. Over the years when your family members have come to you for advice and guidance you have invariably recognized the fact that there are many things that money cannot fix. Most people are comfortable with their own mortality, and when you have the financial resources to take care of your family members on that level you gain a certain peace of mind. But the thing that can really be difficult to let go of when you reach an advanced age is the fact that you will no longer be there to provide that human wisdom that is really ineffable and impossible to fabricate or buy.
People have understood this for hundreds of years, and this void has traditionally been filled by the use of what is called an ethical will. With this document you share your experience and wisdom with your loved ones, and it is often based on spiritual, ethical and moral guidance. However, there are no hard and fast rules concerning what can be included in an ethical will. You simply open up from the inside out and let your family members know how you feel, what you think, and what you would like them to know.
Your legacy is more than a matter of money, and the things that you have experienced throughout your life have given you a particular education that is worth passing along. This can be done at least in part through the composition of an ethical will.