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Ethical will adds another layer to legacy estate planning

Estate planning for New York residents can require more than a basic will in some cases. Regardless of a person's financial status, several matters should be dealt with to both ensure one's wishes are carried out and protect the grieving family at a vulnerable time.

Estate planning typically covers a variety of areas, such as the well-known selection of a health care proxy, distribution of assets and provision for child guardianship. Another document that may be added to this mix is the ethical will. While not legally binding, this can serve as the spirit of the estate plan by providing guidance and reasoning to the heirs. This type of document allows testators to share their values and experiences that can later be reviewed and drawn upon by heirs as they plan for the future.

Such a document can have far-reaching impact for both the relatives left behind and those yet to come. When included with other aspects of estate planning, it rounds out the legacy bequeathed to the heirs as more than a set of financial terms and conditions.

Wealth protection and the distribution of personal property to heirs will always be the centerpiece of estate planning. The ethical will goes further by sharing the intangible reality of the deceased as well. This can help with grieving and could become an important historical document for the entire family. Experienced legal counsel can provide guidance in the creation and safeguarding of an ethical will and making critical decisions about the appropriate legal tools to use for estate administration.

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