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Ethical Wills ‘Can Be More Than Lessons In Life’

Expert Reveals Benefits Of Leaving Words Of Wisdom


People who are preparing ethical Wills should not underestimate the potential impact that such a document could have on loved ones launching Will disputes, a specialist at Irwin Mitchell has advised.

Ethical Wills, although a Jewish tradition, are becoming increasingly popular with those of all faiths who are planning for the future and in the process of writing a regular Will.

The concept is based around creating a document which offers life lessons, knowledge and wisdom back to loved ones, with the fundamental idea being that the deceased can offer words of advice that will help their relatives in the future.

Irwin Mitchell’s Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team have suggested that such a concept is one which could offer more benefits than just advice.

Louise Sykes, a Partner in the Sheffield-based team, said: “Whilst we would always encourage people to prepare a concise, legally-binding Will in order to reduce the prospect of their loved ones disputing the contents, there are undoubted benefits from also preparing an ethical Will as a separate document or a side letter to the official paperwork.

“Emotional passages or information passed down to relatives as advice could be vital, not only providing important advice to family and friends about the future, but also in fully highlighting exactly what the wishes of the deceased are.

“For example, such documents could help to explain the reasoning made behind decisions in the official Will, including issues which the writer may not have had chance to discuss with their loved ones before passing away.”

Louise added that, while ethical Wills can be a good prospect, they should not be a substitute for talking to family while preparing for the future and ensuring they are aware of your wishes.

She said: “In any instance, we would always encourage people to sit down and talk through their financial affairs, as well as their wishes for the future, with family and friends.

“Ethical Wills may be an ideal chance to pass on some words of wisdom after death, but talking in person about financial matters and property is highly recommended.”

If you are involved in a Will dispute or need further information about contesting a Will, please visit our Will, Trust & Estate Disputes section