Once you have your first child your life changes forever because you see your life experience through the lens of someone who is responsible for the well-being of another. This expands as you have more children and branches out even further when grandchildren arrive and your extended family grows. This sense of responsibility becomes a fundamental part of your thought processes when you are planning your estate.
Of course the first thought of most people is to take care of their loved ones financially. This requires careful planning because you should consider the tendencies of the recipients of bequests. The transfer of assets needs to be optimized to accommodate any concerns you may have about the money-handling capabilities of your respective heirs. You must also work with an estate planning attorney to steer clear of the various sources of asset erosion that exist.
But once you have the financial side of things in order you may want to consider the emotional side. Going back to biblical times Jewish families and rabbis alike have used a document called the ethical will to pass along thoughts, experiences, wisdom and guidance to succeeding generations. These days estate planning attorneys and others who work with elders encourage everyone to consider the value of an ethical will.
A lot of the things that you have learned throughout your life would be invaluable to the loved ones that you are leaving behind. You may have never had a chance to say all the things that you would like to say. You can make a big difference in the lives of your surviving family by recording your thoughts and passing them along, punctuating your legacy with words born of a wisdom that was hard-earned through a life well lived.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday