A will is perhaps the most important legal document the average American will ever sign. Yet, over 70% of American adults do not have a will. Without a will, the state, not you, decides who is entitled to your personal items and granted custody of your minor children.

A will is your way of saying who — family, friends, organizations — is to receive your estate: the furniture, jewelry, cars, bank accounts, business or real estate that you own. In your will, you can leave particular things to specific people. You can name a guardian for your minor children and a trustee to manage their money.

As part of your will, you can choose a personal representative (executor) to wind up your affairs. This person or institution gathers your property, pays your debts and any taxes due, and delivers the balance of your estate to the people you have chosen.

As you can see, an O.W.D estate planning attorney is necessary in creating and maintaining a proper will.

What makes a will legal?

Any adult of sound mind is entitled to make a will. If you’re reading this, you’re of sound mind. Beyond that, there are just a few technical requirements: