Last Will And Testament


A will or testament is a legal document by which a person, the testator, expresses their wishes as to how their property is to be distributed at death, and names one or more persons, the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution. For the devolution of property not disposed of by will, see inheritance and intestacy.

What is ‘Last Will And Testament’

A last will and testament is a legal document that conveys a person’s last desires about their belongings and dependents to those who will inherit those items. A person’s last will and testament specifies what should be done with his or her possessions, whether he or she wishes to leave them to another person or group or donate them to charity, as well as what should be done with other matters for which he or she is responsible, such as custody of dependent children and account and interest administration.

Explaining ‘Last Will And Testament’

When a person makes a will while still living, the instructions included in the will are followed out when the individual dies away. The executor of the estate is designated by the will to be someone who is still alive. The person in charge of managing the estate is known as the executor. The executor is normally under the supervision of the probate court to ensure that the desires expressed in the will are carried out.

Consequences of No Will

The term “intestate” refers to a person who dies without leaving a legal will, in which case the state takes over as executor of the estate. When settling an estate, the state determines how the property will be distributed and who will get paid first, with no regard for the financial conditions of the family involved. Any blood relative has the right to assert a claim on the estate.

The court may even order the establishment of guardianship arrangements if it determines that it is in the best interests of the children to do so. If a court finds that a will was prepared in an incorrect manner, it declares the will void. The settlement of the estate is thereafter subject to the laws of the state governing intestate succession.

Last Will And Testament FAQ

Can I write my own will and will it be legal?

Your will should be legally enforceable as long as it was properly signed and attested by two adult independent witnesses who were present at the time you signed your will.

Can I make a will without a lawyer?

The creation of a will and the witnessing of a solicitor are not required in this situation. You have the option of creating your own will if you so want. Some of the most frequent errors people make when creating a will include: failing to recognize the formal conditions that must be met in order for a will to be legally legitimate; and failing to consider the consequences of drafting a will.

What is the difference between a will and a last will and testament?

Traditionally, a will included primarily instructions pertaining to real estate ownership. It dealt with the disposal of the testator's land and the buildings on it that he had built over the years. A testament was originally intended to provide instructions regarding personal property, such as money, jewels, automobiles, precious items, and other valuables, among other things.

Does a will have to be notarized?

It is not necessary to get a will notarized in order for it to be legitimate. A 'self-proving affidavit' must be included in your will in most states, and it must be signed by your witnesses and notarized in order to be valid. If you sign your will at a lawyer's office, the lawyer will arrange for a notary public to witness your signature.

Further Reading

  • Ben Graham’s Last Will and Testament: An Evaluation – [PDF]
  • Banking, finance, and community economic empowerment: Structural economic theory, procedural civil rights, and substantive racial justice – [PDF]