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 are the restrictions for naming a given individual as my contingent beneficiary?

    Life insurance is an important part of estate planning. It allows you to ensure that you can financially take care of the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do you mediate a dispute between primary and contingent beneficiaries of a trust?

    There may be a dispute between beneficiaries whenever the proceeds of a trust or other transfer on death (TOD) account are ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between the death benefit and cash value of an insurance policy?

    One of the most utilized tools in funding an estate plan is term or permanent life insurance. Purchasing a life insurance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. 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 >>
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