Creating a will is something that many of us don’t think of until later in life. As funeral professionals, we have seen many families struggle when a loved one dies without a will, and in our experience, having one in place can be very helpful. (Please don't consider this information to be a substitute for legal advice and be sure to consult an attorney on all matters concerning your estate.)
A will allows you to specify how you want your estate distributed when you pass away. Changing marital status, having children and purchasing property such as a home or business are all other good reasons to prepare or update your will. Here are a few things to start thinking about:
1. An Executor. An executor is the person that you trust to be a representative of your will. The executor's role is make sure that everything you asked for is carried out and all property and assets are divided correctly.
2. Guardianship of Your Children. Naming a guardian, or several guardians in order of preference for children is very important. If you are a pet owner, you can also specify a guardian of your pet(s).
3. Funeral Arrangements. Funeral and cemetery plans can also be referenced in your will, including payment arrangements. Describing your wishes in this area will help your family understand your preferences as they make your final arrangements.
4. Beneficiaries for Property and Assets. Property and assets are things you own such as personal belongings, cash, land or real estate. It is good to be as specific as possible with your instructions on property and assets, so there isn't any confusion among your survivors.
These are just a few things to consider when the time comes to write your will. For guidance on formalizing your will, be sure to consult an attorney.