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.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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.
willAn 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).
The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.