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Ethical will leaves behind values during estate administration

Although most people think of estate planning in terms of finances, planning an estate can also include many more concerns other than the financial-planning aspects. Beyond financial stability, most people want to instill in their families and loved ones values for living life. Many times these values will also work toward ensuring that beneficiaries make good use of the financial assets inherited during estate administration in Maryland or in any other state.

One estate planning tool that addresses the issue of leaving behind values for one's family to live by is an ethical will. Although this document has no legal standing in the process of estate administration, it does provide an opportunity for a person to guide one's surviving family and friends on how they should live their lives. This may include suggestions on certain charities for donations. It can also play an essential role in promoting unity within one's family after a person's death.

Additionally, passing on values to children may also have a financial impact. An ethical will can also espouse the importance of saving, which can help to make one's children better stewards of the assets and wealth one has worked to accumulate during a lifetime. This is significant since many affluent parents are concerned about leaving their inheritance with their children. Approximately 26 percent of them reported this type of concern, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch.

On the other hand, without the proper legal documents in place, estate planning is useless in Maryland or in any other state. Therefore, it is important to sufficiently evaluate one's individual circumstances and goals in order to formulate an estate plan that helps to support these goals. This will require correctly drafting supporting legal documents, such as a last will and testament. Even minor mistakes in the legal language can cause a legal dispute during estate administration.

Source:, Your Money Matters: Estate planning tips, Steve Diltz, Feb. 24, 2014

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