Ethical Dreams for the Family!

A More Personal Side to Estate Planning

Estate planning is a topic that conjures thoughts of spacious estates, jewelry, taxes and other financial matters. Yet, estate planning is really about our loved ones and providing for them in the event of our death or disability. When viewed in that light it is truly an act of love. Our law firm’s focus is helping people provide for their loved ones in this manner.

This season helps us think about those people close to us. We may be thinking about what kind of gifts we can buy for them or when we will find time to visit them during a busy holiday season. In our life we want to truly take care of the financial and personal well-being of those we love. Even more important than any of those things are our personal feelings and affections for our loved ones. One way to “give” those things to our family is through an Ethical Will.

Like our Christmas holiday, the Ethical Will concept started as a part of the Jewish faith tradition. An Ethical Will would typically be a formal document wherein the leader of the family would summarize moral values and points of wisdom for future generations. These “gifts” are more meaningful and lasting than any financial asset that one could leave for their family.

Anyone can incorporate an Ethical Will into their personal estate plan. It may be a formal separate document or a letter. It could also be a simple statement of faith included as a part of a Last Will and Testament. We encourage our clients to think about the values they want to pass down to their families first and those thoughts will actually help shape the official (legal) estate plan. In the end an Ethical Will is simply a means to share your thoughts and feelings with those whom you love.

For more information about estate planning and to download a copy of our Ethical Will Workbook, please visit You can also sign up to receive our bi-weekly newsletter, which covers a variety of estate planning and legal topics.

© Jack Carney, Carney Dye L.L.C. 2015

This is designed for general information only. The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Rule 7.2 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct requires the following statement: “No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.”

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