How Does a Will Work?

By Alicia Bodine - Updated August 28, 2017

Jennifer Marr

What is a Will

A will is a document drawn up by a testator. It gives specific instructions as to how an individual's property should be dispersed after death. A will can also list a guardian for the individual's children, as well as give instructions for their care. Almost anything can be added to the will, which should be notarized and reviewed by an attorney.

What Must be in a Will

The will must contain the words "Last Will and Testament." It must begin with a clause written by the testator that states: "I am the testator and I am making a will." The testator must revoke all previous wills. The testator must then add" "I am of sound mind and physically capable of creating this will." Finally, the testator must sign the will at the end of the document befpre two witnesses who will not benefit from the will.

After the Testator Passes Away

After the testator passes away, the will begins to work. The original will is submitted to probate to be determined by the court whether the document is real and legal. Once it is determined to be so, an executor is appointed to carry out the instructions in the will. The family will be gathered together to be read the will. The executor will then have all the necessary funds dispersed and property transfer papers drawn up.

About the Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.

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