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3 Things That Matter Most in Your Will

Happy bride and groom What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about creating a Will? Probably what you’re going to do with your estate — your “stuff.” While it’s true that how you allocate your assets is a key function of a Will, when you’re creating your legacy what really matters is how the disposition of your property affects the people, pets, and causes that you care about most.

  • 1. People

    If you’re like most of us, then the people in your life are what matters most. And when you create a legacy, you’ll want to include them in different ways. Some help ensure everything goes according to your wishes, while others will actually receive your belongings. Let’s look at both groups:

    Your Will includes several key people who act as administrators or agents. The first is the Will Agent (also called an Executor). That person has the job of making sure that whatever you want to happen will actually happen. It could be delivering a pet to someone or helping close a bank account or making sure your assets are properly distributed. It’s an important role so choose someone who is organized and responsible.

    The second is a Guardian, the person who will look after any minor children and whatever you provide for them. In the absence of another suitable parent, this position is absolutely critical. While there are lots of factors to consider, don’t forget to consider values. Do they share the same religious beliefs? What are their views on money, chores and homework? There’s no right or wrong answer, just the one that fits with how you want your kids raised.

    Talk it over with each person beforehand and make sure they understand your goals and share your expectations.

  • 2. Pets

    Americans own almost 170 MILLION dogs and cats. That’s about 45% of the households with a dog and 35% have a cat. And when the time comes, you’ll certainly want those beloved friends to be well cared for. Creating your Will can include leaving your pet and resources to whomever you want to care for them, and it takes just one click to do. If you want to leave specific care instructions, write them out separately and keep them with your Will so your Will Agent can pass them on.

    Not everyone is set up to have a pet or even wants one. Be sure you find a true pet lover who will keep your beloved dog Spot’s best interests at heart.

  • 3. Charities

    Americans have a big heart when it comes to charitable giving, donating almost $400 billion in 2016. And giving to a charity in your Will has never been easier. You just need to name the charity and provide their address or location. It’s that simple. If you have an organization or cause that you already support, then choosing which charity is easy. If you don’t, then you might consider a cause you support like veterans or children, your church or religious group or even one that helps your local community.