When it comes to having a will, it is incredibly important to have it established while you are still alive. If you are unable to have a will or trust in place, the process does end up going through probate and that can be incredibly costly for the surviving family. Now, wills are one of the simplest things to establish. You ultimately need to just get the forms notarized and have a witness present at the time. Trusts are also fairly simple to set up. You can go through an agency or establish it online through any of the numerous available software. 


Pros of a Will:


There are many reasons to have a will in place when finalizing your last wishes for your family. The following are the top five reasons to establish a will:

  1. You decide how your estate will be distributed. 

  2. You decide who takes care of your minor children.

  3. Your family gets to avoid a lengthy probate process.

  4. It can help minimize estate taxes. 

  5. You can always change your mind if anything changes.


Cons of a Will:


While a will is a very beneficial document to have, when you do pass away it can be a difficult venture to have your family go through. The following are the top five cons of having a will:

  1. A will can be challenged.

  2. Probate may be required.

  3. It is a public record.

  4. It may not minimize estate taxes as much as possible.

  5. Will do not take effect until the time of death, which may not account for end-of-life needs. 


When it comes to end-of-life planning, it can seem really stressful and even scary. The important thing to remember is that if a will or trust is established, it will help ease the final things your family is going to need to take care of. Wills and trusts do allow for your loved ones to know what your final wishes are, how you want your assets divided and how to handle any outstanding debts, taxes, and other vital things that fall into those categories.


Once you do have everything finalized for your last living will and testament or your trust, it does ease some of the burdens you may be feeling, when it does come time for your final rights to be recognized. Now, once a will is finalized or your trust is established, it is in your best interest to establish some other things along with those documents such as who will care for your minor children if you pass before they turn 18, what you want to have done with your body whether it be a cremation, a donation to scientific research or burial. 

Finalizing Wills and Trusts

Once you have decided what the best course of action for your specific situation is, whether it is a will or trust it is important for someone in your family to be aware of the legal documentation and how you want everything to be implemented. Ultimately, it is easier on your family and yourself, if you have an established plan in place for your last wishes to be met. The following list is the most common things that are included in your final will or trust:

  1. Guardianship: This is important as a parent because it establishes who you want to care for your children in the event of your passing while they are still under 18.

  2. Assets: This is dividing your assets among your surviving family, based on what you would like them to have.

  3. Real Property: This term refers to any actual property, such as homes or businesses that you would like to have sold or transferred into someone else’s name.


Once you have everything written down, notarized, and finalized it’s ultimately just making any small changes that may arise throughout the rest of your life. Just remember that it is important to voice what you want to be done with your assets, regardless of others’ opinions.

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond