What is a Last Will and Testament and How Does it Work?

A last will and testament is a legal document that communicates a person's final wishes in relation to their assets. The terms “last will and testament” and “will” are often used interchangeably and today mean the same thing. Both refer to a legal document that outlines a person's final wishes regarding the distribution of assets and property after death, as well as other matters such as guardianship of minor children. For a last will and testament to be valid, three conditions must be met. First, the document must be written in accordance with the laws of the state in which it is created.

Second, the testator (the person creating the will) must sign the document in front of two witnesses. Finally, the witnesses must also sign the document. The English phrase “will and testament” derives from a period in English law when Old English and French law were used side by side for maximum clarity. A last will and testament is also known as a will, and is the key instrument used to ensure that an estate is settled in accordance with the deceased's wishes. Although the date can appear anywhere in the will, the testator must sign the will at the end of the document.

The term “last will and testament” is more specific and describes only the document that gives instructions on how an estate should be distributed, how minor children should be cared for, and perhaps other matters. Probate and probate planning lawyers can help you draft your last will and testament, ensuring that your wishes are carried out after your death. Online will creators also allow you to write, print, and sign your last will through an online or downloaded document creator. There is no better day than today to take control of your future by making the decision to create your Last Will and Testament with Confidence & Will.