A will is a testamentary document written during the life of the testator (the person making the will). A will dictates how the testator’s property will be divided and distributed after the testator’s death. Generally, wills contain provisions bestowing certain goods or percentages of property (including stocks and bonds) to specific individuals or classes of individuals (like children or grandchildren). Not only does a will dictate the division and distribution of the testator’s property at death, but a will also generally establishes an executor of the will (the person who will offer the will to probate and carry out the will’s provisions). Upon the testator’s death and the will being probated, the executor is given the power to manage the deceased testator’s estate and to make sure that the testator’s estate is properly distributed as expressed in the will. It is important to keep in mind that the requirements for executing a will differ from state to state. Additionally, each state’s requirements are detailed and must be adhered to carefully in order to ensure that the will is valid under the law.

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