Drafting a perfect legal document is not always the same as crafting the perfect estate plan. Sometimes it is worth the extra energy, time and effort to draft your true intentions in a more approachable form and even a different document.
What is an ethical will?
Think of your last will as providing the legally-binding “how” when it comes to your estate plan. How do you want your assets to be distributed whether in Overland Park or elsewhere?
On the other hand, think of your ethical will as providing the non-binding “why” when it comes to the matters of the heart behind your estate. Why are you distributing your assets as you are?
WealthManagement took up the topic of ethical wills in a recent article titled “The Rep’s Guide to Ethical Wills.”
You might say that there are two important aspects when it comes to planning for your estate. For starters, every decision is a legal decision. Consequently, you have to appease the law and the court system. At the same time, however, every decision intimately and ultimately effects your loves ones who just need to understand your decisions.
The dilemma is that legal language is not too great at expressing an emotive concept. Fortunately, you can always work outside the lines to ensure that your point gets made with an ethical will through which you can express your reasons, emotions and hopes in an entirely non-legal way.
The ethical will can appease the emotional curiosity in the same way that the last will sticks around to speak to your legal needs after you are gone.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: WealthManagement (February 25, 2014) “The Rep’s Guide to Ethical Wills”