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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Aug 16, 2016

Last wishes are requests, separate from a will, that someone wants to have done after they die. Last wishes are not legally binding; however, if all of the family members unite and agree to honor someone’s last wishes the executor has the moral obligation to comply.

Last wishes

In the event of death, many people have desires for their funeral, final internment and other matters not covered in a will. Last wishes are best followed when written down and made into a document, such as a Statement of Desires and Location of Property & Document. Having written last wishes helps families honor them. It’s also wise to leave your last wishes in a place someone can easily find them. The following things are a good thing to have written in your last wishes:

  • the location of your will
  • a list of your assets
  • a list of your life insurance policies
  • a list of relatives, friends and any other people you would like to be notified of your death
  • any desires you may have regarding the education and upbringing of your minor children
  • provisions for the custody and care of pets
  • instructions regarding your funeral

Verbal wills

Sometimes people die without making a written will. In these cases, witnesses who may have been told the person’s last wishes can come forward and claim that the person made a valid oral will. Although this is sometimes an uphill battle, as someone’s verbal last wishes are not legally binding.

If you’re an executor of an estate where someone is claiming the person made an oral will, you should talk to an experienced attorney about your options. It’s not always possible to prove that there was a verbal will made.