Passing down values—not just valuables
A will lets you outline what you want your kids to have. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a similar document for expressing what you want your children to be? An “ethical will” lets you do just that. It’s an informal, non-legal document that spells out your family values, allowing you to share the virtues you learned from your own parents. When asked, “Which is the best thing men do?” the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov said, “To be kind, to be proud, to be fearless.” What advice will your ethical will include? What words of wisdom will help your children become their best selves? Heirlooms aren’t the only riches we get to hand down to the next generation.
Starting the dialogue
It’s never too late to have the talk—and it’s never too early to start one with your own children. To help your parents out, suggest that they take a look at this guide.
Of course, starting conversations about family valuables and values could feel awkward—but we should all do it. Here are some tips on how to make estate planning a family affair.