5 Surprising Health Risks Facing Seniors

Growing up is hard to do, and growing older can be especially difficult. Seniors deal with aging bodies, minds, and a culture that’s not fully appreciative of those in their golden years. With so many things to consider about old age, there remain surprises in senior life, both good and bad. If you don’t like surprises, do yourself a favor and check out these health risks facing seniors.

  1. Denial

    It’s No. 1 with a bullet. It’s a nearly proven fact that most diseases are caused by stress and stress-related tolls on the body and mind, but denial is the other side of that coin. If you’re stressed out enough to get sick from it, you’re probably stressed out enough to ignore detrimental physical effects. Denial of the self and one’s environment can lead to Senile Squalor Syndrome, commonly known as “hoarding.” Denial of one’s body and mind can also lead to excess weight, poor hygiene, and potentially fatal health problems. Prescription? Get real about what’s going on inside of you.

  2. Elder Abuse

    Elder abuse could be as prevalent as child abuse, though it’s certainly not as publicized. Neglect, abuse, and disregard are some of the issues seniors may have to face. It’s almost impossible to think about, but it’s worse among minority, poor, and underrepresented populations. Elder financial abuse is also a common happening, often leaving senior citizens without proper financial backing for necessary medical care in times of illness.

  3. Hydration

    Water, water everywhere! One of the best things you can do for your body is stay hydrated, and it’s a fact that most Americans are lacking in water. Proper hydration is what allows the body’s cells to function at their optimum rate, and it’s increasingly important as we age. Senior citizens should be mindful of their water intake, and increase it based on climate, health condition, and time of year.

  4. Food Choices

    With heart disease and diabetes running rampant, seniors should be extremely mindful of their food choices. You are what you eat, and poor nutrition can amplify other health conditions. There’s nothing better than eating to live, and senior citizens can easily incorporate healthy food choices into their daily routines.

  5. Driving

    Unfortunately, it might not be that surprising. Driving vehicles can cause serious health risks to seniors, especially those who haven’t had an eye exam in awhile. Although our elders have earned the right to be as independent as they can be for as long as possible, sometimes you’ve just got to hang up the keys.

7 Ways for Seniors to Stay Safe on the Road

Even before you reach the age of 60, you may notice changes to your vision, hearing, and reaction time, changes that can impair your ability to drive safely. Drivers 70 and older face an increased risk of experiencing, and possibly not surviving, a driving related accident. Being aware of your body’s physiological changes and understanding how to drive defensively and safely can help you maintain your independence and prevent the potential for a serious accident. Here are seven ways seniors can stay safe on the road.

  1. Prepare your vehicle:

    Before you hit the road, take time to prepare your vehicle so that you are safe and comfortable behind the wheel. Adjust the driver’s seat and rear view mirrors so you can easily reach the pedals and have a clear view of what’s behind you. Make sure you are carrying your driver’s license and that your registration and insurance information are in the glove compartment. Also be sure to bring your car in for regular maintenance to keep it running as smoothly as possible.

  2. Drive the right kind of car:

    Once you hit the age of 60, you may find that you need to drive a different type of vehicle that accommodates your physical limitations, provides you with a comfortable driving experience, and helps ensure your safety in the event of an accident. Check out sites like carsdirect and Edmunds for suggestions for vehicles that are especially suitable for senior drivers. An occupational therapist can also assist you in determining what kind of vehicle best fits your needs.

  3. Avoid busy roads and highways:

    As you get older, knowing and acknowledging your physical limitations is crucial for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Explore different driving routes with less traffic and less distractions. Understand that your reaction time will slow down as you age, so avoid situations where you may have to turn left suddenly or navigate road construction. If your night vision isn’t reliable, then if possible, don’t drive after dark or in inclement weather.

  4. Check your medications:

    Whether you are taking a prescription or over the counter drug, be aware that medication, especially combinations of medication, can impair your ability to drive safely. Tranquilizers, pain pills, sleep medicines, antihistamines, and decongestants can all affect your reaction time while on the road. Regularly do an inventory of your medications with your doctor so you’re aware of any and all potential side effects.

  5. Know your state’s licensing laws:

    The laws for drivers, especially senior-aged drivers, are different depending on which state you live in. Depending on your age, some states require you to renew your license in person every couple of years and pass a vision test. In other states, it’s every four years. Check out the state map on the American Automobile Association’s website and click on your state to see its laws. Then be sure to update your driver’s license accordingly.

  6. Have your hearing and vision checked:

    For your own safety and the safety of your fellow drivers, have your vision and hearing checked annually, even if your state doesn’t require it in order for you to drive. For your vision, you’ll want to be sure your prescription is up to date. When it comes to your hearing, if you can’t hear an emergency siren, car horn, or bells at a railroad crossing, you are definitely in danger of having an accident.

  7. Take a refresher course:

    Taking a refresher course is a great way for any driver, no matter how old they are, to brush up their defensive driving skills and review the rules of the road. The American Automobile Association offers driving courses for senior drivers, courses that upon completion may provide you with a deduction on your auto insurance. You can also check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and local traffic schools to find a refresher driving course that suits your experience and abilities.

The 7 Types of People You Don’t Want at Your Funeral

It’s a fact: You’re going to die someday. And when you die, it’s likely you’ll have a funeral. You want your family and friends to be there, wishing you well into the afterlife. But you’re bound to have some clingers, criers, and a host of unfavorables trying to ruin your mortal remains’ last hurrah. Avoid these seven types of people. You don’t want them at your funeral.

  1. The Cry-er

    The last thing you want at your funeral? Someone to take the attention off of you. Avoid making friends with cry babies, or let your friends know ahead of time that you prefer they do their teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling grieving in private.

  2. The Laugher

    Do you have a friend that makes a joke out of everything? If this would offend you, even in death, make sure not to have them at your funeral. Make sure, however, that they attend your wake.

  3. The Boss

    Do you really want your boss to see your mortal remains to the afterlife? Didn’t you get enough of him when he was hogging all the coffee? Unless you’re invested in your job and fold it into your life, avoid telling your boss when and where you’ll be memorialized. The company will send flowers to the family, either way.

  4. The Ex

    What’s worse than your boss at your funeral? Your bitter ex. You want your funeral to be a celebration of your life, not a laundry list of the people you’ve slept with and dumped. Hopefully, your ex has moved on by now. You’re dead, so — you clearly have.

  5. The Religious Freak

    You might be in heaven, but the last thing you want is some religious freak telling all your loved ones that you’re flying with the angels. Let the more pious and devout (read: square) come to the visitation, or seat them near the preacher and ignore, ignore, ignore.

  6. The Third Cousin Twice Removed

    Hillbillies and felons do not belong at your funeral. Or, maybe they do, but you certainly don’t want them there. Everyone’s got that one cousin with the neck tattoo or the lack of teeth. You don’t want those people at your funeral.

  7. The Funeral Crasher

    If you know someone who uses significant life events to get dates, don’t invite them to your funeral. They may put the “fun” in it, but this is about you — not about nookie!

7 Fitness Tips for the Urban Exerciser

City dwellers have more exercise opportunities at their fingertips than the average suburbanite. Sure, they may not have huge mega-gyms, but they do have huge parks and running trails they can use for free. If you’re an urban exerciser, or trying to become a better one, then shake up your workout routine with these seven fitness tips for exercising in the city.

  1. Go to a park:

    Besides the obvious running trails and bike paths, parks also have trees, benches, and other solid surfaces that can be incorporated into your workout. A bench can be used for tricep dips, side lunges, push-ups, and more. A tree can be used for planks, wall sits, and stretching. Bring a yoga mat and you can do stretches, crunches, and other exercise moves on virtually any park surface.

  2. Hit the trails:

    Most big cities have designated trails and green belts that can be used for running, biking, hiking, and other activities. Not only are trails an escape from traffic and noisy streets, but they also provide nice scenery and fresh air. Take a friend or your dog for added company, but try to stick to the paved trails for your safety.

  3. Make your commute count:

    If you’re lucky enough to live within a short walk or bike ride from work, then why not make your commute part of your daily workout routine? Even if you take the bus or subway, you can ditch your dress shoes or heels for your sneakers and power walk to the office. Breaking a sweat on the way to work will wake you up and get your heart pumping. Bring a hair dryer or towel to dry off, and no one will ever know you were working out on your way to work.

  4. Take the stairs:

    Whether they like it or not, urban dwellers are well acquainted with staircases. Although taking the stairs can feel like a chore, it definitely pays to take them over the elevator. Maximize your calorie burning and toning potential by taking the stairs at work, at home, and anywhere else you can climb. Run up and down stairs for anaerobic conditioning or strengthen your legs with stair lunges, calf raises, or side step-ups.

  5. Go to a playground:

    The same kind of playgrounds you frequented as a kid can be used to shake up your workout routine as an adult. Instead of waiting for your turn to use the monkey bars or cross the playground net, you should wait until everyone’s left so you don’t weird out the parents and can get a consistent workout. You can focus on using a few playground parts like ladders, ropes, and monkey bars, or make an obstacle course out of the entire playground set and time yourself.

  6. Use the public recreational spaces:

    Big cities are full of basketball courts, baseball fields, tennis courts, and other recreational spaces that are free and open to the public. Take advantage of these public spaces by getting a group of friends together to shoot some hoops, play flag football, or have a volleyball match. If the space is already occupied, ask if you can join in.

  7. Take advantage of citywide fitness classes:

    Living in the city, you are bound to see free fitness classes happening all around you. The city, community groups, gyms, and retailers often host citywide workout classes like yoga, zumba, fun runs, and other group programs. If you don’t mind big crowds and exercising outside, then you should definitely give these free classes a try.

5 Assets You Should Include in Your Will

If you’ve drafted your will, you may think you’ve included everything that needs to be taken care of — beneficiaries, guardians for your children, etc. But you may have some assets you haven’t considered putting in your will. Do you have any of the following assets? If so, go change your will! Ask your lawyer if there are any other assets you should consider.

  1. Digital assets:

    This is an aspect that your great-grandparents never had to consider when writing their wills. Americans value their digital assets at almost $55,000, including accounts, photos, records, and various files across all of their devices. While account providers may have different conditions on whether the account is transferable after your death, you can include instructions in your will to give the executor the power to access your online assets (email accounts, PayPal, Ebay, etc.) or leave usernames and passwords for a beneficiary to access accounts and devices.

  2. Real estate:

    If you’ve spent a large chunk of your life paying off your home or land, you’re going to want to know where it’s going when you die. If you are a joint owner with full rights of survivorship, the other owner will automatically be transferred ownership when you die. But if you solely own the property or have another joint ownership arrangement, it’s essential you specify what to do with the real estate after you’re gone.

  3. Business assets:

    If you have your own business, this is a huge asset to consider when planning your estate. When you think of the future of your company, even after your gone, is it still being run by someone you trust? Or has your family been able to make money off of its sale? Deciding whether you’ll choose a successor or have it sold after your death is the first major decision to make. If you’re just one of many partners in the business, you’ll need to discuss with the others what the plans for your shares are in case of your death.

  4. Vehicles:

    A car, like real estate, is an asset that can’t be easily divided among your beneficiaries, so you’ll need to include your wishes for your vehicle in your will. You can leave it to a beneficiary or ask for it to be sold. This will save some arguments and headaches for your loved ones. This also goes for any other motor vehicles you might have, such as a boat, motorcycle, or RV.

  5. Investments:

    When you sign up for some types of investments (IRAs, 401(k)s, and life insurance), you name a beneficiary, and that beneficiary stands regardless of what you put in your will. But if you name your estate as the beneficiary, or if you’re dealing with another type of investment (stocks, bonds, etc.), it’s important to include these assets in your will. Investments often contribute largely to your overall estate, so leaving them out is a huge oversight.

8 Things to Know About Estate Planning in Your 30s

The typical American worker in their 30s hasn’t done much to save for retirement. But with debt levels rising and a lingering recession, estate planning in your 30s just makes sense. Getting ahead financially will serve you well in your old age, no matter who you are or what your income level. No clue where to start? Worry not; we’ve got eight need-to-knows that will get you on the right track.

  1. Now is the time.

    Estate planning encompasses both retirement and death planning, and it’s better to plan for these things while you’re still young. Setting aside money for retirement in your 30s gives you the chance to watch it grow throughout the decades, so that maybe you can relax in your old age.

  2. It will change over time.

    Even if you’ve got your estate completely planned by your 30th birthday, know that your wishes will change during this time. Most people get married, buy homes, and have children in their 30s, and the state of your estate plans will reflect these changes throughout your life.

  3. Know what you want.

    It’s not just your money, it’s your life and legacy. Know who you can trust to take care of things in case of your death, and make sure you’ve discussed any wishes with this person. Choose guardians for your children, designate your wishes in your will, and always save aggressively. One of the things you want is a nice retirement!

  4. Be a risk taker.

    When signing up for investment plans, your 30s are a decade you can afford to take some risks. You don’t have to choose the least risk averse options, but do plan to be willing to take a chance to grow your retirement fund. Listen to your financial advisor, and discuss your plans with friends and family.

  5. Know thyself.

    Do you know your family’s medical history? Do you know what habits you have that could cause a premature death? Make sure you get yearly physicals, are aware of your health profile, and have taken the proper precautions. If heart disease is rampant on both sides of your family, start taking lifestyle and estate planning steps to take care of yourself in case of tragedy. Knowledge is power!

  6. Plan for tragedy.

    It’s sad to think that you’ll die someday, and it’s even more upsetting to think that it could be prematurely. But it’s a dangerous world, and something awful could happen. Your estate plans should be comprehensive enough to allow for a plan of action in case of your untimely death. Spare your family from having to make the tough decisions by starting early.

  7. Consider alternatives.

    If you don’t have a large 401(k), consider some alternatives in your 30s. If you need to pick up an extra job, more education, or retool your finances due to a low-paying gig, these are the years to do it. Some people choose to work part-time jobs in their retirement, while others begin investing and saving earlier to avoid this need. You’ve got lots of choices; make sure your estate plan reflects your life plan.

  8. It’s OK to enlist help.

    Estate planning can be confusing, especially if you’ve got a complicated income. Don’t be afraid to reach out to accountants, financial advisors, or specialists if you aren’t certain where to turn. It might cost you some money at the outset, but “Future You” will be thankful you got it settled as a young adult.

8 Ways Retirees Can Stay Healthy

Retirement is an exciting turning point in a person’s life. Being free from work and all the stress that comes with it is a huge relief. Retirees have more time to travel, enjoy hobbies, and connect with friends and family, but if they’re not in good health, then this stage of life can become more of a burden than a relief. Don’t wait for a diagnosis or lecture from your doctor; kickstart your health today with these eight ways retirees can stay healthy.

  1. Eat your fruits and veggies:

    You’re never too old to be reminded to eat your fruits and veggies every day. The recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables is nine servings, and unless you are getting somewhere close to this amount, you may need to start altering your meals. Fruits and vegetables are full of essential vitamins and minerals that are needed for various bodily functions. They also may reduce your risk of cancer and other deadly diseases.

  2. Stretch:

    All those years of sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer screen have taken a toll on your body, and it’s time to regain your flexibility and good posture. One of the best ways to do this is to stretch safely and effectively. Whether you stretch first thing in the morning, after an evening workout, or during a yoga class, stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and athletic performance while reducing your risk of injury.

  3. Get more sleep:

    Now that you’re retired, it’s time to catch up on your sleep and get into a regular sleeping schedule. Aim for the recommended eight to nine hours of sleep each night, and make a point to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. This will allow your body to get into a healthy rhythm and ensure you are well rested each day.

  4. Listen to your body:

    Simply listening to your body can help you stay healthy, avoid injuries, and prevent certain medical conditions. From eating to exercising, your body and mind are constantly communicating and sending signals that we often ignore, such as fullness and tiredness. Instead of tuning out your body, tune in to what it is trying to tell you. Practicing body awareness can help you live a healthier and happier life.

  5. Talk with your doctor:

    It doesn’t matter how old you are, no one likes going to the doctor. But while you’re there, you need to get the most you can out of every visit. It’s important to talk with your doctor and ask questions about your health risks, diagnosis, medications, and other related topics. Bring questions to your visit, take notes, and don’t be afraid to follow up for clarification. Being honest and open with your doctor will only benefit you and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.

  6. Do the activities you enjoy:

    Now has never been a better time to do the things you truly enjoy. Whether it’s golfing, painting, playing cards, or gardening, there’s no limit to the things you can do with your new free time. And it doesn’t have to be physically exerting to be effective either. Doing any activity you love can help reduce stress and release feel-good endorphins.

  7. Find companionship:

    Retirees need just as much, if not more, companionship as the next person. Now that they are no longer reporting to an office or working alongside their good friends, retirees need to make a point to stay social as well as maintain and develop new relationships. In addition to spending more time with your significant other, family members, and friends, you can also find new friends within your community at church, the gym, and other local gatherings.

  8. Relax:

    Relaxing is just as important as exercising. While many retirees don’t need to be reminded to relax, some have trouble letting go of responsibility and end up spending more time trying to stay busy than enjoying their free time. There’s nothing wrong with staying physically and mentally active, but it’s also important to have downtime and to give your mind a break.

8 Ways to Stay Healthy in Your 30s

30 is the new 20, so don’t let it be the death of you. The way you conduct your health and your lifestyle will certainly have to change as you age, and your 30s are a decade to begin being mindful of this. If you’re looking for some quick tips, check out these eight great ways to stay healthy in your 30s.

  1. Eat Well

    If you haven’t had a health revolution, make sure you have one in your 30s. Examining the foods you eat can make all the difference in your cholesterol levels and risk of diabetes. Think about it this way: You’ve been on the planet 30 years. In 30 more, you’ll be 60. If 60-year-old you wouldn’t be happy with your food choice, maybe try a light salad instead. Cheat days and indulgences are normal, but a healthy approach to what and why you eat is warranted. Avoid saturated fats and processed foods, no matter what your age. You’re a grown-up now — eat like one.

  2. Exercise More

    Any physical activity in your 30s will be profitable for your longevity. Make sure you’re getting at least some exercise in on most days. Especially if you have a desk job, your body’s flexibility and efficiency is at risk of lowering in your 30s and beyond. Set yourself up for success by stretching, staying active, and not being afraid to break a sweat.

  3. Get A Yearly Checkup

    Know the status of your sexual health, what diseases run in your family, and what your particular health risks are. Talk with your doctor about preventative health, and productive ways to fight aging and decay. You’re not old yet, but you will be some day. Use your 30s to learn more about what you can expect from your body moving forward.

  4. Do Something Epic

    Train for a marathon. Do a Tough Mudder. Become an Iron Man. Climb Mount Everest. Keep your mind and body as active as possible, in new and novel ways. One of the most effective ways to supercharge your life is to challenge yourself — just make sure you do it in a healthy way.

  5. Sit Less

    Sitting down is killing you; try to do it less. If you have a desk job, talk with your supervisor about what options you have. Take frequent breaks. Be as mobile as possible during your day. There’s no need to prematurely slow yourself down by sitting for eight hours at a time. Find new and inventive ways to incorporate motion into your work and home life. You’ll thank us when you’re old!

  6. Drink More Water

    Staying hydrated is one of the most important things a person can do. Water makes our bodies function at their most efficient capacities, including promoting cell repair and staving off arthritis. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and is truly one of the most important things you can do for yourself at any age.

  7. Take A Vitamin

    Ensure that you get your daily dose of necessary vitamins and minerals. While some daily vitamins contain more than you need, a single multivitamin per day is a good step toward replenishing your health. When you’re at your checkups, find out if there’s anything you’re lacking. Many women, for example, could use more iron. Medicate accordingly.

  8. Schedule It In

    No time equals no willpower, and it’s still not a legit excuse. If you want to be fit and fabulous in your 30s, make sure you’re scheduling time for your health. This includes workouts, cooking healthy foods, meditation, and medical visits. It may take a long time, but it might just lengthen your life.

7 Incredibly Unhealthy Things You Do to Yourself at Work

Do you throw your alarm clock across the room when it goes off Monday morning? Is your idea of a healthy breakfast before work two aspirins and a can of Redbull? Do you work past 5 p.m. only to spend most of that time curled under your desk weeping uncontrollably? Hopefully not, but probably everyone reading this has at one time, at the end of a week of office work, wondered why they feel kind of crappy. Well, this crappy feeling can be changed, if you’re willing to break a few bad habits and adopt a few good ones. Read on, and discover seven incredibly unhealthy things you do to yourself while at work.

  1. Skipping breakfast:

    Why eat breakfast when you can easily run on a large cup of Starbucks coffee and a donut? If by 10 a.m. you start to feel queasy, just eat another donut! We hear this so often it may sound like a cliche, but the fact is, study after study shows that eating breakfast (a good breakfast, not leftover pizza, 10 pancakes, and a Diet Coke) improves your thinking ability, your mental strength, and your physical endurance.

  2. Sitting still:

    The bad news is we’re all going to die one day. The even worse news is, if you sit at your job for more than three hours at a stretch, according to some medical experts, you’re going to die even sooner. But don’t panic. All this means is that you should work into your daily schedule breaks where you get up off your butt and walk around the office, if not up and down a stairwell, or outside and around the block. If your job requires that you stay put behind your desk, take time every couple hours to stand up, stretch, and stay on your feet for a few minutes. At the end of the week, you will feel the difference.

  3. Eating at your desk:

    So you’re seated at your desk, and you’re eating a red apple you washed in some kind of fruit shampoo wash that you bought at the local Whole Foods. So what’s the problem? Well, a typical office worker’s desk has 100 times as much bacterium as a typical kitchen table. Blech! Avoid eating at your desk in order to help keep it, and especially your computer’s keyboard, as free of crumbs and bacteria as possible

  4. Bad posture:

    Bad posture, be it sitting straight up like a Marine or doubled over your computer’s keyboard like a Butoh dancer, will create unnecessary strain on your back and shoulders. Try to find a happy compromise where you’re relaxed but not slouched in your chair so that your nose is touching the edge of your desk. Take those breaks we talk about above, and try some ergonomic exercises once a day as well.

  5. Unhealthy snacking:

    Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when you feel yourself fading or your stomach growling, definitely have a snack, but avoid candy, chips, and the other usual suspects. Instead, try a piece of fruit or a low-sugar granola bar. Even a little bit of dark chocolate should be enough to keep you going, just avoid loading up on sugary food when you feel genuinely hungry.

  6. Not drinking water:

    The clichéd advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day” is exactly that: a cliché that has a ring of truth mainly because it’s so easy to remember! That said, yes, you do want to drink water throughout your day. Doing so not only curbs your appetite, but it keeps your head clear, and your body hydrated and energized. If you find you’re going to the restroom eight times a day because of the eight 8-ounce glasses of water you’re diligently drinking, then roll it back a little, unless you’re enjoying the repeated exercise!

  7. Working past the clock:

    Some days, you may find you have to work past quitting time. And some weekends, you may want to spend some time getting ahead on a big project. However, studies show that working overtime can lead to a variety of health issues, not the least of which is the risk of a major depressive episode. Try to set boundaries between your work life and your home life. The healthier you are, the more effective you can be at your job.

8 Things to Include in Your Will

Many Americans over the age of 45 do not have a will, the main reason being it is unpleasant, even depressing to imagine, well, being dead, and what exactly you want done with all of your stuff after you have passed. On top of that, even if you don’t have a large estate or family, determining what to and what not to include in a will can be a truly confusing process. Below are eight important things that should be included in a will. We suggest you also take time to investigate the benefits of having a revocable living trust.

  1. An executor:

    In your will, name an executor, or what some states refer to as a personal representative, for your estate. That person will file an application with the probate court for the official authority to act on behalf of your estate. The executor is responsible for sending out formal notices of your death to heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, publishing a notice of your death in the local newspaper, preparing an appraised inventory of your assets, and properly distributing the assets as determined by your will and the probate process.

  2. A guardian:

    If you have children under 18, your spouse or ex-spouse will become the sole parent when you die. If your spouse has passed, you need to name a guardian for your child or children. Otherwise, that decision will be made by a probate judge. If you believe your ex-spouse is unfit to parent, write a letter to be kept with your will that states why you believe this to be true and who you prefer be the guardian of your kids. Your letter won’t be legally binding, but it will make the court aware of potential problems.

  3. Names of beneficiaries:

    Any asset you own jointly, with your spouse, children, siblings, or others, will automatically pass, outside of probate, to the surviving owner or owners. But in order to pass along any assets that you solely own, you will need to name the beneficiaries in your will. Clearly define the asset and clearly name the beneficiary by their name. “My grandchildren” is acceptable, but “My grandchildren, Bill, Sally, and Fred” is better.

  4. Sentimental items:

    Don’t forget to include sentimental items, such as jewelry, rare books, photos, or pieces of art in your will. Any items that are yours and yours alone can be passed along to whoever you like, so long as you specify in your will who is to receive what. Be very specific. “My favorite necklace to my favorite niece” is a little vague, and could cause confusion and anger among your survivors. Consider adding a residuary clause to your will if you’d like any assets you haven’t listed to transfer to a specific beneficiary.

  5. Testamentary trust:

    A testamentary trust is usually created in a will in order to assure that assets, especially money, left to a minor child will be managed by an adult. The trust asset or property should be clearly defined, with trustees named and their powers spelled out. Unlike a living trust, assets named in a testamentary trust are subject to the probate process.

  6. How debts, expenses, and taxes should be paid:

    You can spell out in your will how any of your remaining debts, unpaid taxes, and probate costs, as well as funeral and other expenses, should be paid. Usually funds in a specific bank account are flagged to cover these kinds of costs.

  7. Pets:

    If you have a pet you love, you should name the person in your will who has agreed to take care of it in the event of your death. Some people even set aside money to help cover the costs of taking care of their pet. You might also consider creating a trust for your pet, which may offer more detailed and binding instructions for the care of your pet after you have passed. The Humane Society offers guidelines as to how to provide for your pet after you’ve died.

  8. Attestation clause:

    An attestation clause at the end of your will shows that you have complied with all of the legal requirements related to the signing and witnessing of your will. Including this clause can help speed up the process of probating and confirming the validity of your will.