fall pumpkins and flowers
October 2012


Many parents spend a lot of time, energy, and money preparing estate plans intended to provide security for their children and grandchildren. While it's common for parents to conduct numerous discussions with advisers in order to create a plan that will transfer their estate as smoothly as possible, they often neglect to hold similar conversations with their children.


When planning to pass your estate on to your heirs, it is important to consider how they might handle the new responsibility of receiving an inheritance. Parents may believe that the inherited estate will be used responsibly to help their children and grandchildren pay for furthering their education; to make it possible for one parent to stay home with young children; to ensure a secure retirement, or to be put to other responsible, sensible uses. The assumption that children share the financial values of their parents, however, may not be valid. Many teenagers or young adults might prefer a sports car to a 401(k).


To communicate their values, may people write an ethical will, which basically states in a narrative form what is important to them and how their values were developed growing up and during their lifetimes. By sharing your values with your loved ones, it is hoped that they will continue on with the next generation(s). Many clients have shared with us that the ethical wills of deceased relatives are one of the most cherished and meaningful gifts they have ever received from a loved one. In fact, several clients have saved the writings of loved ones for decades and they serve as an inspiration during challenging life situations.  


There is no right or wrong approach to ethical wills; the words simply have to come from the heart. Along with personal values and beliefs, we have seen clients share spiritual beliefs, hopes for future generations, life's lessons, forgiving others, or asking for forgiveness, among many other themes. After all, the money you leave will ultimately be spent; the values you impart may last forever.  Read more 


For more information about estate planning, visit For more information about our elder law services, visit


The National Association of Estate Planners and Councils and the NAEPC Education Foundation have teamed up with organizations all over the country this week to help Americans educate themselves to have a more secure retirement.   


With the right tools, estate planning can be for everyone, regardless of net worth. Analyze your situation and speak to a certified elder law attorney who can help plan your retirement. Work with financial planners who can help develop a financial plan that will address your needs and give you a sense of security for the future. 


Learn more about National Estate Planning Awareness Week by clicking on the links below.

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