Financial Advisors Incorporate Ethical Wills into Financial Planning Process

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As Baby Boomers age and spirituality becomes of greater concern, a top advisory firm helps clients bequeath more than just money.

Mosaic Financial Partners, a San Francisco-based financial advisory firm is encouraging its clients to incorporate Ethical Wills into their planning process.

“As a wealth advisory firm, we recognize that wealth management and legacy planning is about more than financial assets,” says President Norman Boone. “Good financial planning is built on a foundation of the client’s values, dreams and a sense of what’s important in life. The logical next step is to facilitate the communication of these values to one’s children and grandchildren. Ethical Wills is an excellent vehicle for doing that.”

An ethical will is a non-legal document that bequeaths life’s lessons and values. Similar to a personal mission statement, the benefits of creating an ethical will include: the opportunity to provide a treasured keepsake for one’s heirs, generating a greater understanding of self and often a sense of completion and renewed life purpose.

Known by a variety of names such as “heritage wills” or “legacy wills,” ethical wills have a long history. While the concept was most vividly portrayed in the first book of the Bible (a.k.a. Jacob’s blessing”) the idea of transmitting principles from one generation to the next is common amongst many faiths and has evolved into a distinct literary form. All underscore the parental desire to perpetuate the familial legacy of values, principles, dreams and wishes by sharing them.

Ethical wills can be written or captured electronically (audio or visual) and may include elements of story-telling, personal memoir, genealogy and history. While the content and design is as varied as the individuals who draft them, most wills are self-reflective and address the age-old concerns of human mortality as well as elements of meaning and value found in life.

The stage in life at which an ethical will is drafted will impact the tone and content: older individuals have stories to tell and wisdom to impart, whereas younger individuals tend to focus on hopes and aspirations. Reaching special points in life (transitional or challenging life stages such as marriage, divorce, birth or adolescence as well as illness or the anticipation of death) can be a motivating factor. “As Baby Boomers age and spirituality becomes of greater concern,” says Boone, “we expect the practice of recording one’s personal value system will become more common.”

About Mosaic Financial Partners, Inc.

Mosaic Financial Partners currently has offices in San Francisco and Oakland. President Norman M. Boone, MBA, CFP®, and East Bay Managing Director Linda S. Lubitz, CFP®, have consistently been cited as two of “America's Best Financial Advisors” by Worth magazine since the inception of the list in 1994. They are also among those recognized as “Best Financial Advisors for Doctors” by Medical Economics magazine. Co-authors of the best selling industry book, Creating an Investment Policy Statement – Guidelines and Templates, they are active on a national and regional level within the Financial Planning Association. They are frequently quoted in both industry trade publications and consumer-oriented financial press. Linda is also President of The Lubitz Financial Group in Miami, Florida.

Kevin Gahagan, CFP®, CIMC, a principal who works in the San Francisco office, is equally active and respected within the profession. An instructor at UC Berkeley, he educates other financial planners who are enrolled in the Certified Financial Planner™ certification program. Gahagan is also former president and chair of the East Bay Financial Planning Association (FPA), and serves on the board of directors for both the San Francisco chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) and the Estate Planning Council of Diablo Valley.

Mosaic’s Manager of Financial Planning, Holly Gillian-Kindel, CLU, CFP®, recently co-authored Leaving a Legacy for the financial planning industry publication Research. She discusses in more detail the subject of Ethical Wills -- non-legal documents that bequeath life’s lessons and values -- and the role a financial advisor can play in developing this type of document with clients.

For a copy of the article, or to receive more information, please contact Norman M. Boone at Mosaic Financial Partners, Inc. Phone 415.788.1952 or visit

NOTE: When you need an expert to speak on complicated financial topics in an easy-to-understand and lively way, please call the nationally-recognized advisors at Mosaic Financial Partners.


Norman M. Boone, MBA, CFP®

President, Mosaic Financial Partners


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