A simple will needs to include at least some basic information

As you begin to consider your estate plan, you may wonder where to start. Depending on your age, assets, parental status and other factors, the tools that may most benefit you at this time could vary. Additionally, as your life changes, you may find that updating your plan and using more tools could help you keep your wishes in order and allow you to make the most comprehensive plan possible.

At this time, you may feel that a simple estate plan is all that you need to cover your bases. However, you may still have questions regarding what you should include in this document. Wills are versatile and can cover many topics, and the information you choose to include may depend on your specific circumstances.


As part of your will, you may wish to indicate who you want to act as executor of your estate. This person will take on numerous responsibilities when it comes to taking care of your final affairs and closing your estate properly. Because of the considerable strain this role can place on a person, you may wish to ensure that you discuss the possible appointment with your candidate before legally naming him or her. Appointing a backup executor may also prove wise.


You can also use your will to name beneficiaries. These individuals will receive the assets you dictate in your document. You may also want to include identifying information for your beneficiaries that goes beyond their names. Your executor or other applicable individuals may not know your beneficiaries by name, and information such as addresses and birth dates may help make finding these individuals easier.


If you have minor children, you can use a simple will to indicate who you want to act as guardian for those children. Again, this role is a substantial responsibility, and you should discuss this appointment with the children's other parent and the person or people who you wish to take on the guardianship role.

Creating your document

Even simple wills need to be legally binding in order for others to follow your wishes. Therefore, you may want to ensure that you follow the proper steps in creating your will. Information on your options, other details to include or exclude from your will, and other aspects of estate planning may help you in your planning endeavors.

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