What Is a Will?

A will is a signed legal document containing your instructions and wishes for how your assets are distributed among your heirs and can be prepared at any age and includes how your property, such as land, bank accounts, furniture, investments, homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and more are then distributed to heirs or beneficiaries upon death.

A will is valid if a court approves it, and the process for a court to validate a will is called probate. If the will is not made correctly and executed, the court will not accept it and not issue a Grant of Probate (the proof the will was valid and outlining the instructions).

For any person who dies suddenly and does not have a will, the court's rules of that jurisdiction will be applied over the assets, and the court will decide the asset distribution.

A will is necessary because it avoids arguments among beneficiaries and expresses the maker’s wishes. A valid will should include the following:

  • The will should be in writing: typed, hand-written, or printed.

  • The document should have the maker’s signature.

  • There should be at least two witnesses when the maker signs the document. 

  • The two witnesses must simultaneously sign and date the document as the maker.

Not following the above procedure might render the will unacceptable to the court.

  • Published: Apr 14, 2024
  • Updated: Dec 8, 2023

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This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make no representations or warranties about this FAQ's completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability. Each legal situation is unique. Always consult an attorney for personalized guidance.

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