A will gives you the power to decide who gets what in your family. Just think what a few pages of your will can do to your family members? It can change the direction of their life. It can drag someone from rags to riches, and on the negative side, it can make someone homeless too. Such is the power of a will.

Read more - Consumer law - Wills

When you’re making a will, there are a few things you need to include in it and exclude from it. First let me point out the things you should definitely exclude from your will:

  • Joint tenancy property
  • Life insurance proceeds if there is a beneficiary
  • Stocks and bonds that will go to the beneficiary
  • Any money that will be paid after your death. *
  • Gifts for illegal purposes
  • Funeral instructions
  • Estate taxes

Usually, you need to name a beneficiary in this kind of an account. If you intend to change the name of the beneficiary, then get in touch with the bank.

Now, let us talk about the things that people often forget to include in their will. Make sure you don’t do the same mistakes. These are:

  1. Live-in partner
  2. Pets
  3. Minor children

A. Your live-in partner

Just because you aren't married, it doesn’t mean that you can avoid making a will. Your spouse is important in your life, especially when you have a kid with this person. So, isn’t it your responsibility to include him/her in your will?

An estate plan will protect your spouse’s future even when you aren’t around him/her. If there is no estate plan, then he/she might not be able to enjoy your properties or assets. Both your spouse and children may become homeless after your demise.

B. Pets

There is no need to include your pet in the will when you wish your pet lives in an animal shelter. It’s wrong to assume that your family memberswill take care of your pet after you’ve left this world. They might not love pets like you. In fact, there are many people who simply hate pets. Can you imagine what will be your pet’s condition in that scenario? It might not get the love and care you would have wanted.

Points to keep in mind

1. Talk with the caregiver: Have a talk with the person whom you want to appoint as your pet’s caregiver. Ask that person if he/she is willing to take your pet’s responsibility. Mary Randolph, (the author of Dog Law) says,

“The biggest mistake is hoping that someone will take care of Fluffy because everyone loves Fluffy.”

Please understand and accept this fact that your dog (Fluffy) might not be as adorable as you think. People are little blind about their kids and pets. So, you’re not the best person to decide if everyone likes your pet.

2. Think about charitable organizations: What if you can’t find a trustable caregiver? What can you do in that case?

You’ve got 2 options in that case:

  1. You can think about the animal rescue organizations for taking care of your pet
  2. You can donate money to charitable organizations for taking care of your pet

Remember, animals need a lot of love and care. Animal rescue organizations will charge a fee for taking care of your pet over a long period. Plus, you need to check how animals are taken care of in these organizations. If the facilities aren’t that good, then your pet won’t like to live there. So, before making any arrangements, think carefully and choose the right organization. Ask these questions before making a decision:

  • Where are pets kept?
  • Who takes care of the pets?
  • How are pets placed in a new family?
  • What is the organization's policy regarding adoption?

What may happen if there is a shortage in the number of employees?

Please don’t make your will in your death bed. You need some time to research on the animal rescue organizations. Plus, it’ll take some time to find the right caregiver too.

Names of some animal rescue organizations

  • Animal Equality International
  • Petfinder
  • Hope For Paws
  • Best Friends
  • A Better Life Animal Rescue, Inc
  • Adopt A Pet
  • Mercy for Animals
  • The Humane League
  • Rescue Dogs Rock
  • Dog Shelters

C. Minor Children

Usually, parents don’t forget to include children in their will. Still, if your kids are below 18 years, then you should appoint a guardian for your kids. It’s expected that your family will take care of your kids even when you’re not there to look after them. But can you guarantee that your spouse/family will definitely look after your kids? The situation can change anytime. So, isn’t it better to mention the name of the guardian in your will?

Some people feel that online assets should also be included in a will since there’s an emotional attachment. Do you also feel like that? Share your feelings with us.

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