Will

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DEFINITION of 'Will'

A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his or her property to be distributed after death. In a will, a person can also recommend a guardian for his or her children.

Also known as a "will and testament".

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Will'

Making a will is a very important component of estate planning. In it you declare who gets your belongings and assets when you die. If you do not have a will, the distribution of your property is left up to the government, and may even end up becoming state property. A will helps ensure that your wishes are carried out, and it can make things simpler and easier for your heirs.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What should I consider when I select an executor for my will?

    The executor of a will is the person designated with the task of administering the will's instructions. The responsibilities ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What does U.S. law say about contingent beneficiaries?

    In the United States, posthumous asset transfers only require the listing of a primary beneficiary. Contingent beneficiaries ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I change my contingent beneficiary?

    Keeping your beneficiary designations up to date is an important aspect of comprehensive estate planning. Listing a primary ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. If both the primary and contingent beneficiaries are unavailable, what happens to ...

    One of the most common mistakes in estate planning is not keeping beneficiary designations up to date on life insurance policies ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What kinds of assets can be included in a revocable trust?

    A revocable trust is an important part of estate planning. The trust document allows a living grantor to receive income from ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do you set up a revocable trust?

    A revocable living trust (RLT) is an arrangement in which a grantor transfers ownership of property through a trust. The ... Read Full Answer >>
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