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July, 2013
Ethical Wills: Preserving a Legacy of Values for Your Family and Community

What is an Ethical Will?

Most people are familiar with the concept of a “last will and testament.” It is the means of distributing our accumulated assets to our loved ones and favorite charities, and to effect other important decisions at the time of our death.

However … have you ever considered writing an ethical will?

An ethical will is a way to share your values, beliefs, and life lessons with your family in the same way that a will of inheritance provides instructions for bequeathing your valuables.

Ethical wills are not new. The Hebrew Bible first described the concept ethical wills, which were transmitted orally. Later they were written and attached to legal wills and shared after death. Today, they are most often written as a separate document and shared with family members while the writer is still alive.

Why Create an Ethical Will?

There are many personal reasons for writing an ethical will. Here is a partial list:
  • We all want to be remembered and we all will leave something behind.

  • It helps you identify what you value most and what you stand for.

  • By articulating what we value now, we can take steps to ensure the continuation of those values for future generations.

  • When you write an ethical will, you learn a lot about yourself.

  • It helps coming to terms with our mortality by creating something of meaning that will live on after we are gone.
When Should You Write an Ethical Will?

Ethical wills are being written by people facing challenging life situations and in different life stages. Some people find it easier to write a legal will once they have written an ethical will. They are also being written as a foundation for estate planning, to help articulate goals that are important to you.

Here are some people who could consider writing an Ethical Will:
  • Engaged Couples – for establishing a common base of values.
  • Expectant and New Parents – to provide a framework for child-rearing.
  • Growing Families – for teaching values to children.
  • Middle Age and Beyond – converting life experience into wisdom and passing this on to future generations.
  • End of Life – adds the transcendent dimension to our lives.
An ethical will may be one of the most cherished gifts you can give to your family and community.

© 2011 Standard & Poor's Financial Communications. All rights reserved. | Sitemap | Disclosure

Kelly C. Ruggles, Spokane, WA. Does not intend to provide personalized investment advice through this publication and does not represent the strategies or services discussed are suitable for any investor. Investors should consult with their financial advisors prior to making any investment decisions.

©2013 Kelly Ruggles - News Letter: Kelly C Ruggles, Spokane, WA., President Of American Reliance Group, Inc. is a registered investment advisor.