The goal of a will is to ensure that your estate distributes to your heirs and loved ones according to your wishes.
In addition to your personal information and a statement about your testamentary capacity, a will should include a few essential elements.
Name an executor
An executor is a person who will take responsibility for your estate after you die. They account for all of the debts and assets in your estate, settle the debts and distribute the assets according to your wishes. While spouses or adult children typically fill this role, you may name any adult you trust as the executor of your estate.
List significant assets
List all of your significant assets in your will, including bank accounts, real estate and investments. If you have other items of value, such as family heirlooms or art collections, include those too. It is not necessary to include assets such as insurance, retirement or stock that have beneficiaries named within those accounts, as they will pass directly to the named beneficiaries.
Name a guardian
If you have minor children, include a section where you name the guardian you wish to take physical and legal custody of your children after your passing. In most cases, guardianship automatically transfers to a surviving parent.
Name your heirs and beneficiaries, along with which assets each of them should receive. Also include contingent instructions for how assets should distribute in case a beneficiary passes before you.
Revisit your will every few years and after any major life change and make updates as needed. You may need to remove beneficiaries or add new heirs as your family changes and grows.