Basic Requests in Wills

by Anna Assad
A request for pet care may be included in a will.

A request for pet care may be included in a will.

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A will contains the last wishes, directions and requests of a person, commonly referred to as the testator. The requests in the will may range from basic to complex or unusual, but the executor -- the person designated by the testator to handle the estate -- named in the will is bound to honor any reasonable requests. Requests that are illegal under state or federal laws are typically disregarded.

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A person may include burial instructions in the will. Some wills are very basic in regards to burial instructions, like simply asking to be buried in a particular cemetery. Other wills are much more specific, dictating the type of burial, where the funeral mass should be held and who should perform the service, what type of grave marker and who the deceased person should be buried next to -- usually a family member or close friend.

Guardianship of Minor Children

Guardianship of any minor children the testator has is typically dictated by state family laws or separate paperwork the person filed before death. However, the person may include a request for a particular guardian in her will. The provision may be considered in court if the other parent is not living or able to take care of the children, and no other guardianship papers were drafted.

Trust Distribution

A person may request an heir not have access to a trust until a particular event occurs or milestone is reached. The testator's trust stipulation may relate to a personal concern about the heir's age or his intentions for the trust money, such as paying for the heir's college education. A trust distribution request sometimes contains loopholes to account for expenses due to an unforeseen event, like the heir becoming seriously ill before reaching the age she can access the trust.

Care of Pets

Some wills include provisions for care of a beloved pet. While "pet trusts" -- a trust fund set up in the will for the care of an animal -- are occasionally seen in a will, a more common approach is a simple request for a friend or family member to take in the animal. A person who is a farmer may include an animal provision in his will for business purposes, as the livestock may be necessary for the profitability of the family farm.