Wills are considered the foundation of a comprehensive estate plan, but they aren’t the “catch-all” for your directives. Some of the issues that should not be addressed in a will are:
Wills are often not located and rarely read until several days after the passing. Funeral plans need to be made immediately, so it’s best to address funeral and burial wishes in a letter to your family and/or Executor. Make sure to advise the location and even the contents of the letter.
It is also a good idea to pre-plan your funeral. Pre-planning your funeral can also alleviate overspending andn added responsibility to your family during their time of grief.
There have been plenty of movies based on the premise of an inheritance based on the recipient having to get married. While it may be an entertaining notion, basing an inheritance on a contingency as important as divorce or marriage is not allowed in a will. You may express wishes in a letter as part of your estate plan, but it is not a legally binding document.
A will is not read until after you pass, so it does not make sense to address medical issues in this document. Advanced directives, such as the Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care, address medical and “end of life” issues and are more appropriate for these wishes. Advanced directives are another important aspect of estate planning.
A will is a fundamental part of an estate plan, but it certainly isn’t the only part. While the will addresses asset distribution, other aspects of the estate plan are addressed in additional documents.