May 1, 2012
To my daughter, I leave my passion for knowledge . . .
To my son, I leave my love of laughter . . .
When the time comes for you to pass away, what legacy will you leave? Will it be purely monetary? Would you prefer to be remembered for your values rather than for the possessions you have left behind? What wisdom and life lessons do you want to share with those you care about? Is there family history that should be cherished and not forgotten? When you desire to leave more than material possessions, you need an ethical will.
Many people have a basic estate plan in place already. They have executed a last will and testament containing an orderly scheme for distribution of their assets upon their passing. Many have also executed a durable power of attorney and health care proxy that will protect them in times of incapacity. By most standards, their estate plan is complete, but it may seem that a crucial aspect is missing: will these documents pass on to loved ones the wisdom gained throughout life or the valuable lessons learned?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. While these documents are crucial to address the legal aspects of estate planning, they are very technical and ill-suited for passing on the intangible assets that have accumulated throughout life. While an ethical will is not a binding legal document, it is an invaluable gift to friends, family members, and loved ones.
There is richness to your life that cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents, but that should be shared with future generations. In fact, some would argue that your emotional wealth — values, ideas, beliefs, and life experiences — is worth far more than your financial wealth ever could be. …
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by: Gina M. Barry