the art of caring for your aging loved one

Will and Executor

Protect the Family

Every adult who owns assets or has children should have a Will.

A properly drawn, up-to-date Will is one of the finest protections that we can give our family.

A Will is a written document, dated, signed and witnessed, in which we can detail who will receive everything that we leave behind, including money, property, investments, and personal treasures. We can outline our burial wishes. We can name an Executor to manage our estate when we die.

This is definitely not a do-it-yourself project!

When we die without a Will, an administrator must be appointed by the court to manage our estate.

Time to Up-date

You may discover that your Aging Loved One has a Will written half a lifetime ago.

It's probably time to have a review—okay, an assessment. A review every five years is worthwhile.

Tactic: "Mum, you and Dad made Wills when Dad was still working. We need an up-date. It's one more little bit of business."

Your Aging Loved One must be of sound mind in order to declare and to sign a Will.

  • Does he know today's date?
  • Does he know his birth date?
  • Does he know the names of his children?

Lawyers ask these kinds of questions to determine soundness of mind.

The lawyer will not proceed if he is unsure.

When he is confident that your Aging Loved One is not being bullied and is acting without pressure, a new Will may be prepared.

Your Aging Loved One may change his mind some time after his Will is signed. Reassure him that he may visit his lawyer again and revise it. If the marital status of a beneficiary changes, or if he or she dies, a revision is in order.


The lawyer will ask, "Whom do you wish to appoint as your executor?"

Depending upon the size and complexity of the estate, this job can be time consuming. Encourage your Aging Loved One to give careful consideration to the choice of Executor. This person is often a relative, friend, or other trusted person. He will need time and skills and probably some legal assistance to complete many, many tasks.

These tasks take time. He will assist with funeral arrangements, locate and deal with beneficiaries, prepare a list of assests and liabilities, deal with all financial institutions, deal with the accountant, and distribute the assets according to the Will. M. Watkins at Edward Jones (only an example, but a good place to begin) can supply detailed, helpful suggestions.

Before putting name to paper, it's only proper and considerate to ask whomever is chosen if he is willing to accept this responsibility. He will become involved in some paper-signing right off the bat.

A Will takes effect after death.

Easy, now

When your Aging Loved One asks you questions of a legal nature, don't presume to be a lawyer. Don't put yourself on shaky ground. You may have to open your mouth to change feet.