The Basics of Wills

Creating a will can help your family and friends avoid some major decisions following your death. A will is a legally binding document that states what happens to your property after death. It describes who receives property and in what amounts, and it can also name a guardian for your children if they are minors. If a person is unsure of how to distribute property in a will, they can create a will that appoints an “executor,” or representative of the estate, to handle the deceased’s property and affairs.

A person with any amount of property can be prepared for death by making a will. Each state sets its own laws that determine the requirements for a legal will. Some states require that it be prepared and witnessed by an attorney, while other states accept handwritten wills. Software is available to create wills as well as online services, but you should check with your state’s guidelines before taking the time or money to prepare one.

After creating a will, you may still change it if your property or family circumstances change. The document to change your will is called a codicil and can be easily added to your existing will.