A Will: Who Needs One


A will is an estate-planning tool that serves as your set of instructions regarding who gets your property and resources when you die. At a minimum, everyone needs a simple will. It is the document that most people use for transferring their property, and it is often the choice of young families and of others whose situations involve neither complex tax planning nor resource management for incapacitated family members. After death, the will is settled through the probate process.

To appreciate the terminology used in a will, select Prepare Your Estate Plan Case Study 4: How Much Will Each Heir Inherit? Remember to access the Financial Security Glossary for an understanding of the terms used.

Why have a will?

  • It allows you to decide how to distribute your assets after death.
  • It lets your wishes—rather than state law—determine how to distribute your resources to your heirs.
  • It allows you to appoint a guardian of your choice for minor children.
  • It allows you to name important people (an executor/executrix or personal representative) who will carry out your wishes.