Everyone has heard of the last will and it is indeed the most commonly utilized vehicle of asset transfer in the field of estate planning. However, it should be noted that a last will is not your only option when it comes to transferring assets to your loved ones, and the alternatives are not exclusively of use to people of extraordinary wealth. Depending on your intentions and the form of your assets you may want to pass along resources to your loved ones using a variety of different vehicles, and this is something that you should discuss with your estate planning attorney.
In addition to the last will, there is another type of will that should be a part of your comprehensive plan for aging called a living will. With a living will you state your preferences regarding how you feel about certain medical procedures. This document will hold sway should you become incapacitated and unable to communicate your own decisions in real time. If you think back to the highly publicized case of Terri Schiavo you will see why the execution of a living will is so important.
Most people have heard of these two types of wills, but there is a third one that you may want to consider as well called an ethical will. Ethical wills are used to pass down your insights to your loved ones. Traditionally they have included spiritual and moral values, but you can share whatever you would like to in your ethical will. There are those who ask forgiveness for some transgression, and others use their ethical will to explain some of their actions and simply to get some things off of their chests.
When you include an ethical will in your estate plan you give the gift of wisdom, and though money is important, knowledge is priceless.