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Your most personal document is your will

(NC)—Every person should have a will, no matter how old or young they are, and it should cover at least seven essential points to avoid difficulties in the future, as follows:

1. Make sure that only one will exists. Revoke earlier wills when you write a new one.

2. Determine who you want as your executor—the person who will carry out your wishes in settling your estate.

3. Carefully plan for your dependents.

4. Name a guardian for young children.

5. Detail specific monies or gifts to friends, relatives or charities.

6. Consider which people or organizations mean a lot to you and who you may want to leave the residue of your estate. Your church, a charity, or a favourite organization like Amnesty International, are often included on this list.

7. Put in writing the details of your funeral arrangements.

After you have taken care of these basic issues, you may want to consider a few other objectives.

A will, for example, is more than a simple outline of the final distribution of your property and effects. It is an occasion to plan for the financial support of people and projects you have actively supported during your lifetime. It can also be the time to finally help those people and groups that you always intended to support but didn't have the resources to do so.

While everyone involved in estate planning agrees with the need to make a will, remember that it is, in fact, your will. Consider your own wishes and feelings. A will is an important document, but if it does not express your wishes, it is not a good will.

Talk it over with your family. Consider the future. Make a draft. Think again. Your will is probably one of the most important, and personal, documents you will ever prepare.

Laws about will-making and taxes vary from province to province and the specific wording to ensure that your wishes are carried out may require the help of a lawyer. Experts strongly recommend that you seek legal advice when making out your will.

A free information package on wills is available by writing to Amnesty International,

312 Laurier Avenue East, Suite #125, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 1H9.

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