Do You Want an Ethical Will?, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA

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Many people today have two wills. They have a legal will that describes how they want their assets distributed. They also have another will called an “ethical will” that passes down something much different than assets.

Upon hearing the term “ethical will” your first thought might be that it describes a specific ethical way to draft your legal will. Perhaps it could be a way to divide your property ethically between different people. Perhaps it could refer to giving a certain percentage of your estate to charities or religious institutions.

An ethical will, however, is actually an ancient Jewish tradition. It refers to a separate document that passes on wisdom and life lessons to future generations.

As The New York Timesreports, in an article titled The Ethical Will, an Ancient Concept, Is Revamped for the Tech Age,” the ancient idea of an ethical will is getting new life.

Increasingly people are using technology to pass wisdom onto future generations. They are creating videos and slideshows, for example.

Ethical wills give the dying an opportunity to teach younger people about what they have learned during their lives. They also give loved ones something that can be cherished for many years.

Not everyone will want to make an ethical will. Those who are interested, however, might want to think about how technology can assist them in the process.

An estate plan does not have to be pile of legal documents. It can also include other things, such as an ethical will.

Reference: The New York Times (October 31, 2014) The Ethical Will, an Ancient Concept, Is Revamped for the Tech Age

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