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A document stating how and to whom a person wants his/her property transferred after death. In addition to transferring property, a will may specify how certain responsibilities are to be performed. For example, a will may state who shall take care of the decedent's minor children, how they are to be educated, and so forth. A court must enforce the provisions of a will unless there is some overriding legal reason for it not to do so. Many advisers recommend writing a will to ensure that the writer's wishes are carried out.


A will is a legal document you use to transfer assets you have accumulated during your lifetime to the people and institutions you want to have them after your death.

The will also names an executor -- the person or people who will carry out your wishes.

You can leave your assets directly to your heirs, or you can use your will to establish one or more trusts to receive the assets and distribute them at some point in the future.

The danger of dying without a will is that a court in the state where you live will decide what happens to your assets. Its decision may not be what you would have chosen, and its deliberations can be costly and delay settling your estate.


An instrument by which a person directs the disposition of assets after death.At one time the term will referred to disposition of real property, and a testament was a disposition of personal property,hence the expression “last will and testament.”Today,will covers all properties. See also holographic will (handwritten), nuncupative will (oral), intestate succession (dying without a will), and escheat (dying with no will and no heirs).
References in periodicals archive ?
SNUFFY, signed and executed said instrument as his last will and testament in the presence and hearing of the witnesses, and that he had signed willingly, and that he executed it as his free and voluntary act and deed for the purposes therein expressed, and that each of the witnesses at the request of the Testator, in the presence and hearing of the Testator and each other, signed the will as witness, and that to the best of his or her knowledge the Testator was at the time at least eighteen years of age or emancipated, of sound mind and under no constraint, duress, fraud or undue influence, and that each witness was competent to witness the signing and execution of the attached or foregoing instrument.
Fort Polk's Last Will and Testament Questionnaire (354)
Last Will and Testament Questionnaire Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
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