Including an ethical will in Michigan estate planning

When most Michigan residents think about planning their estate, it is the practical details that they spend the most time on. Matters of inheritance, issues related to powers of attorney and whether to create a trust are some of the important considerations. Few people give much thought to the more emotional aspects of estate planning, which is often far more meaningful to those left behind. One way to handle the more personal side of estate planning is by creating an ethical will to accompany the legal will.

An ethical will is nothing more than the vehicle through which an individual leaves behind his or her hopes, dreams and wishes for loved ones. It can take many different forms, according to the desires of the person creating the will. Some people even choose to create their ethical will to please the people who will receive it. A loved one who enjoys scrapbooking might receive a scrapbook of cherished memories and photos, while a relative who is obsessed with music might enjoy a video of images accompanied by carefully chosen songs.

Many people think of their ethical will as a means of sharing themselves with loved ones for many years to come. If one's grandchildren or great-grandchildren are still very young, having an ethical will could help them to feel as if they know their relatives in a way that transcends the time they were able to spend with the person. In many ways, these are the things that mean the most, and are cherished even more than assets or inherited wealth.

For those in Michigan who are considering their estate planning options, wills and trusts are a great place to start. Once those needs have been covered, however, it might be good to think about the more emotional side of estate planning. This is an opportunity to shape the memories that will define one's life, which is a very powerful thing to pass down.

Source: The Huffington Post, "You Don't Have to Own an Estate to Do Estate Planning!", Anthony Cirillo, Aug. 7, 2017