In the wake of the death of a friend of his (who happens to be a friend of a friend of a friend of mine), Neil Gaiman writes in his blog about the importance of writers (and musicians, and artists, and anybody else who might create work that has rights and royalties and such attached) creating literary wills—that is, considering the fate of one’s intellectual property after one’s own life has run its course. If you don’t do it, decisions about what might happen to your books (or songs, or whatever) may well go to people who won’t treat them right.
Very very important, and worth passing on to anyone you know to whom this might be relevant. His post, including a link to a .pdf of a literary will template, here.
Oh, and here is a list of states that accept a holographic (ie in your own handwriting and not witnessed) will–check to make sure yours is on it before you go that route.
While we’re on the subject, here’s my every-periodic bid for everyone to get their durable power of attorney/advance directive ducks in a row. You never know what sorts of things can happen, and it’s your duty to your loved ones to make crystal clear what you’d like to have happen in the event that you can’t make your own medical decisions, and who you’d like to be in charge of that, God forbid that you should need it.
This form is an amazing template (if you have trouble with the link, go here and click on the .pdf download link for “Jewish Medical Directives for Health Care”). It does a lot of the work for you, giving you all sorts of detailed options about what to do in this or that situation, and you check a box next to your preferred decision–thus creating a very detailed list of your wishes, including lots of stuff you probably wouldn’t have thought of on your own. (All the choices they offer–quite a range–are considered acceptable according to halakha). It’s a great form even if you’re not Jewish.
For a more general DPA form crafted according to halakha, you can go here.
For an even more general (ie not Jewishly connected) DPA form, go here.