A will is created to set forth in writing what your final wishes are regarding the distribution of your assets and who will carry out those wishes for you. When preparing a last will, you will choose a personal representative who is responsible for administering and settling the estate.
- Distribute your estate according to your wishes – not the state’s wishes
- Appoint a guardian for minor children
- Appoint a personal representative to administer and settle the estate
When establishing your will, you may want to include a provision with instructions regarding the disposition of your last remains. If you have minor children (under the age of 18), your will should include appointing a guardian to raise your minor children, in the event of your death.
Since a will does not prevent probate like a trust does, a will is filed with the courts upon the death of the testator (person creating the will) and a probate is initiated. Probate proceedings will vary in length and expense depending on the type of probate filed. Probate procedures will generally last anywhere from five months to a year or two and can be expensive to process.