There are some estate planning documents that everyone is aware of, and one of them is the last will. This document is of course used to state your wishes with regard to how you would like your assets distributed after your death. There is another type of will that is also recommended called a living will. With a living will you elucidate your health care preferences so that your family and medical professionals will know what types of procedures you would like to accept or deny in the event of your incapacitation.
Letting everyone know how you want your property distributed is important, and of course it is also necessary to state your medical preferences. But there is another type of will that many people are not aware of called an ethical will, and it too serves a very important purpose.
With a will or a trust you can pass along monetary assets and property, but how do you share wisdom and feelings? When you think about the totality of your legacy there is more to it than dollars and cents, and your heirs would certainly benefit from a glimpse into your heart and mind, gaining from your hard-won experience. This is what an ethical will is all about.
Ethical wills date back to biblical times and they have been part of the Jewish tradition ever since. Today they are used by people of all persuasions and they are highly recommended by many estate planning attorneys and health care and hospice professionals.
With the ethical will you pass along information to your loved ones that you feel is important. It can include moral and spiritual insights but there really are no rules. An ethical will is simply a final letter of sorts addressed to your loved ones that gives them a glimpse inside of you that they may never have seen previously, and this can be instructive to them while being cathartic to you.