Last Will and Testament

last will

A will (often called a “Last Will and Testament”) is a legal document, effective only after your death, that allows you to ensure that your estate will be distributed to the individuals you choose. In your will, you will set forth a plan of distribution for your assets upon your death. Other important topics that can be addressed in a will include:

  • Naming a guardian for your children;
  • Naming a personal representative to administer your estate upon your death;
  • Creation of a testamentary trust within your will to ensure that your children will not have access to assets of the estate until they are mature enough;
  • Naming a testamentary trustee;
  • Special wishes with regard to pets;
  • Special wishes with regard to family heirlooms;
  • Specifying your wishes regarding informal probate administration vs. formal probate administration;
  • Specifying your wishes regarding whether a bond shall be required of your personal representative

One common misconception is that a will avoids probate. It is important to note that creating a will does not avoid probate. A will gives guidance about the decedent’s wishes with regard to his or her assets that go through the probate process.