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Estate Planning, Ethical Wills, and Holiday Gatherings

While visiting loved ones this holiday season, take the time to address two important parts of your family’s future: estate planning and ethical wills.

Both are integral to preserving your legacy or the legacy of a loved one, and the holidays offer a unique opportunity to discuss estate planning and ethical wills when multiple generations of a family – sometimes, from around the country – gather together in one place.

Not sure how to incorporate estate planning or ethical wills into your holidays? Check out our tips below, and then contact us to have one of our attorneys help bring these ideas to life for you and your family.

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Estate Planning and the “Choose It Or Lose It” Game

This idea actually comes from our very own Attorney, Jodi E. Murphy, Esq., and a tradition that her grandmother started over the holidays.

In a creative twist on traditional estate planning, Attorney, Jodi E. Murphy, Esq.’s grandmother would use holiday gatherings with the family as a way to decide who would receive what part of her estate after she passed away. She called it the “Choose It Or Lose It” game.

Each year, she would pass around a list of items, and family members would write their names next to items that they wanted to “choose.” One year, the list would pass from oldest family member to youngest – the following year, the order would reverse.

To personalize the experience and incorporate family history, Attorney, Jodi E. Murphy, Esq.’s grandmother would also tell everyone stories about each item on the list and the importance behind it.

At the time of her passing, Attorney, Jodi E. Murphy, Esq.’s grandmother had amassed a list that was 20 pages long and full of family names and holiday memories.

“…When the time came to clean out her house, it made the process so much easier and enjoyable,” says Attorney, Jodi E. Murphy, Esq. “We all have fond memories [of] discussing the ‘Choose It Or Lose It’ game.”

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Ethical Wills and Family Values

Holidays are a time for family, and there’s no better way to preserve your family history and those generations of stories and life lessons than through an ethical will.

An ethical will can take two forms depending on your preferences: written in the form of  legacy letter or recorded as part of our Priceless Conversations service.

For a legacy letter, you can preserve any number of important treasures in a written letter to your loved ones. You can tell family stories, you can offer guidance for the future, or you can provide life lessons for your children, grandchildren, and so on.

With a Priceless Conversation, you can not only provide guidance, values, and life lessons for your loved ones, but you can do so with a digital recorder so that your loved ones can hear your voice long after you’ve passed.

Whether you are a senior citizen looking to impart wisdom on your younger family members, or you are a new parent interested in making lasting reflections for your little one, an ethical will is a beautiful way to continue the holiday spirit of family and love.


Interested in protecting your family legacy this holiday season? Contact us today for more information on estate planning or an ethical will, and happy holidays from all of us at Murphy & Berglund, PLLC!

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