How to create an ethical will

Published 10:36am Friday, June 29, 2012

After you’ve gathered your thoughts you can start drafting your letter. You can also revise or rewrite it anytime you want. And for safekeeping, keep your ethical will with your other legal documents in a secure location but be sure your executor has access to it. A safe-deposit box or fireproof filing cabinet or safe in your home is a good choice.
Get help
If you need some help, there are lots of resources available like ethicalwill.com which offers practical information, examples of ethical wills, and lots of materials you can purchase to help you put one together, including the second edition of “Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper” by Barry Baines, M.D for $16.
Another good resource is Personal Legacy Advisors (personallegacyadvisors.com), a company that offers coaching, editing, writing and/or audio or video recording ethical wills. Prices will vary depending on the services you choose. They also sell a do-it-yourself guidebook “The Wealth of Your Life: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Ethical Will” by Susan Turnbull for $20.
You can also find help through the Association of Personal Historians. This is a trade association that offers a nationwide directory of professionals who can help you create an ethical will, memoir or a personal history. Visit personalhistorians.org to find help in your area.
You also need to know that many people choose to share their ethical will with their family and friends while they’re still living so they can enjoy their reactions, while others think it should be read after their death. It’s up to you.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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