If so, is it current? By that I mean is the information in it as relevant now as when you first wrote it?
While it is always a difficult thing to confront (having to think about your own mortality and what will happen after you’re gone), however, there is a definite sense of security in knowing that you get to decide. In fact, looking at it from another angle, it’s kind of selfish if we leave those kinds of decisions unmade.
Whether you have family that you believe will fight over your assets or not, there are still some hard facts to face. Not only have your family lost you, but they are now left with the task of fathoming your finances; determining how much you have; what your property is worth and who is entitled to what, and so on.
It’s even more difficult if you have children that still need to be cared for. Have you thought about who would be the best person for the job; who would make time for them, have their best interest at heart, and give them the love and security they will need. You need to put that in writing.
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Another thing you may want to decide is what kind of farewell you would like to have. So what if you’re not going to be around to know? Your family and friends will, and they will want to fulfil your wishes and honour you properly. Don't leave them with so many difficult decisions. This is your chance to plan the kind of send-off you would like to attend if you were able.
If you can afford to do it, have a lawyer draw up your will and keep it in a safety deposit box. Do-it-yourself will kits are fine if your wishes are simple and worded in a straight-forward way, but if there are any inconsistencies or confusion, the will can be challenged. I’ve seen the damage to relationships that can result from family squabbles over inheritances, and it’s the last thing I would want to leave behind.
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Here are some important questions that you need to address when planning a will.
If you died tomorrow…
- Who will act as executor of your estate? Who can you entrust with such a big responsibility?
- Do your key friends and family know your wishes?
- Who has access to your bank details, important documents and personal papers?
- Would you want your house, car and possessions sold and the proceeds divided?
- Who would take care of your children (Who would want to and who would your
children be happy with?)
- What about your pets?
- Do you want to donate your organs?
- Do you want to be buried or cremated and where?
- Will you be leaving bills or debts that need to be paid?
- If you already have a will, does your nominated executor know where it’s kept?
It’s an awful lot to think about, but imagine if you had only moments left. Would you want to spend them worrying about all this and trying to make decisions? Of course not.