VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Understanding an ethical will

There are many estate planning tools individuals can use to make sure that their assets are handled properly after their death. Florida residents who want to bequeath more than just their assets to a loved one may be interested in learning about an ethical will.

An ethical will, sometimes known as a legacy letter, allows an individual to express the values, life lessons and beliefs that they would like to pass on to beneficiaries. It is not a legally binding document; however, it can serve as an accompaniment to a financial will by passing on intangible valuables while the other documents pass on tangible assets.

Every individual should consider using an estate plan, regardless of their wealth status. It can help protect their heirs by making the transfer of assets less problematic. The documents of an efficient estate plan include a standard will, a durable or financial power of attorney for finances and a medical power of attorney that provides an advance health care directive in the event an individual becomes unable to make medical decisions on their own.

An individual can also include an ethical will to pass on their personal legacy. Drafting the will may require significant introspection. Individuals could identify the traditions they would like their heirs to continue or if there was a particular way they want to be remembered.

A lawyer who provides estate planning services may consider a client's financial goals and preferences before recommending estate planning tools that can preserve assets and prevent future family disputes from occurring. The lawyer may assist with drafting different powers of attorneys, establishing the appropriate type of trust and offer advice regarding tax implications of the estate plan.

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