Choose your legacy wisely
Do you want to be remembered for your ethics, your financial assets or both?
If you have assets or property of value, then you should have a will or a trust to ensure these assets pass to the people or organizations you want to benefit from what you have acquired during your lifetime.
Have you ever considered that it can be equally valuable to plan to share your life’s lessons and wisdom learned through your work, hobbies and volunteer service? Life experiences from childhood collectively contribute to one’s personal values, beliefs, behaviors and relationships. In turn, your moral and ethical self directly influences your passion toward work, education, global issues, the arts, philanthropy, community service, recreation and so on.
You’ve come to know A LOT—some of which may be meaningful and helpful to others. Most of us can cite at least one, if not hundreds, of examples of nuggets of wisdom and motivational stories shared by grandparents, parents, teachers, community leaders, colleagues and others. What are your stories and who are you influencing?
Through an Ethical Will you can pass along your reflections, wisdom and life lessons to those you care about in your family and personal communities (work, faith, social, political, service groups and so on). This simple document (or video or audio recording) is an opportunity to share your personal reflections and philosophy with your heirs, cherished friends and future generations.
The Ethical Will is fairly new and completely optional; however, it can be a helpful first step toward identifying what you feel is important to leave to your loved ones and friends beyond tangible assets. Even if you already have an estate plan naming beneficiaries of your assets, your Ethical Will is your personal reflection on life and can be left to as many people as you wish (and they may pass it on to future generations).
This record of your reflections, relationships, acknowledgements and wisdom can be as brief or long as you wish. You may also want to share what historical events influenced your life and why, what aspects of your life were most fulfilling, list some of the skills you believe everyone must learn, share the names of favorite books or recordings, and anything else you believe to be motivational, remarkable, confusing or amusing. Your Ethical Will should include a list of all the beneficiaries you would like to receive it and instruction to your executor to carry out this wish upon your passing.
To discuss how to draft your personal Ethical Will or any other estate planning related topic, call Patricia Price, Moravian’s director of planned giving at 610-625-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.