When you think about leaving your legacy to your loved ones the first thing that crosses your mind is probably going to involve the financial aspect of the exercise. Because of the sources of asset erosion that exist such as the estate tax and the costs associated with probate, you do have to take a long hard look at the the extent and form of your assets and make sure that they are situated properly.
But once you get to thinking about how you’re going to prepare your assets for eventual distribution, you can’t help but start to consider the broader implications of your legacy and how the inheritances that you are leaving behind will affect your loved ones. Receiving a large sum of money can clearly be a life-changing event and not everyone is prepared to handle this type of quantum leap. There are ethical issues involved, especially when you did not earn the money yourself. So it couldn’t hurt to have a little guidance to assist you, and when it comes from the person who actually left you the money it can be especially profound.
This is where an ethical will can help. The ethical will has been used for centuries as a way to pass along some ethical and spiritual guidance to your loved ones at the time of your death, and it dates back to early biblical times. Ethical wills have been part of the Judaic tradition for centuries, used by both rabbis and ordinary Jewish families, but during current times these documents are commonly recommended by estate planning lawyers to people of all faiths and creeds and even those who are not particularly religious.
An ethical will is not a legal document; it is a heartfelt composition intended to share some of your innermost thoughts with the ones that you love the most. Money tends to come and go, but wisdom lasts forever and this is the gift that you give when you leave behind an ethical will.
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