Over the last couple of months this blog has discussed a variety of topics related to writing a spiritual ethical will. Most of these postings have assumed that the ethical will would be your primary will, however, this is not always the case. There are ethical wills that you can use as a supplement to your estate’s legal documents.
If you all ready have a legal will in place and you don’t want to start from scratch, then you can develop an ethical will that only addresses the spiritual side of your passing from this world. One easy way to do this is to simply write a letter to your heirs and keep it with your last will and trust.
Ethical will letters can be addressed to your entire family, or you can draft a specific letter for each person in your life. A comprehensive family letter can impart your words of wisdom about life, love and spirituality. This letter needs avoid exploring intimate details about your relationships with specific people as that information needs only be shared with the other person in that relationship. Intimate dialogues needs to be delivered in a private letter addressed to a specific person. Then, if they want to share the letter with others they have that option.
While ethical will letters are valuable in the sense that they help your survivors to remain connected with you after you are gone, they are not considered legal documents. Even if you say in your letter that you want them to have an item from your estate, it does not constitute a legally binding offer, as it is not formatted or verified to substantiate a claim. This is why if you use letters, you will also need to have a full feature last will and trust on file to handle your estate.
When mixing spirituality and legal matters it is important to understand what you need to do to establish your legacy and satisfy your legal requirements. Designing a supplemental ethical letters will to be attached to a regular last will and trust is one option that you have. You can also create a comprehensive spiritual ethical will that includes instructions on how to divide and manage your estate.
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