A will is a written document that allows you to designate:

  • Who will receive your estate (your property that does not pass by beneficiary designation or joint ownership arrangement) after you die;
  • Who will raise your children if you die while they’re still minors, and your spouse is unavailable to care for them;
  • Whether your beneficiaries receive their inheritance outright or in trust; and
  • Who will serve as your personal representative–that is, the person who will pay your bills and taxes and distribute the rest of your estate to your beneficiaries.