When I work with clients on their estate plans, I work with them on the legal aspects, such as their living trust, will, and powers of attorney. But I also work on other aspects of their estate plan and getting their affairs in order. For example, I work with them to talk to their family about their estate plan. I work with them to pre-plan and pre-pay for their funeral needs. Happy stuff, right? Well, it may not be the most desired of conversations, but –
- It’s necessary. If you don’t want to talk about it now, you will at some point. And if you wait too long, you may not get the chance.
- Once you talk about it once, especially with someone uninvolved like me, talking to the family becomes much easier.
- If you knew what you were doing to your family but not having the conversations, and making them guess at what you want, then you would never leave anything unsaid.
Another thing that I talk to my clients about is an “ethical will.” An ethical will is a document where you share your life lessons, hopes, dreams, values, history, faith, love and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community. Gaining in popularity in the last several years, there are several online websites where you can record your ethical will and keep it, or there are forms you can download and/or purchase. For my clients, I ensure that they have the document then need to record everything they would ever want to, such as the items noted above, in addition to genealogical, medical, military, and other histories as well as other pertinent information.
As we get older, the desire and need to leave a legacy becomes stronger and stronger. We want to be remembered, for our lives, for our contributions and for our love. As long as we are remembered, we stay alive. Creating an ethical will is a way to leave that legacy that is so important.