The law permits an individual to designate who are to become the owners of one's property after death. This is done by a Will. The Will names an Executor to carry out your instructions and names a Guardian to take care of your minor children, if there are any. Since a Will is a legal document and disposes of property, it must be executed in a specific manner and precautions must be taken to assure its genuineness. Some people do not think it is necessary to have a Will for one reason or another, or neglect to make one. In this event a statute designates who will get the property.

The Will only becomes effective at your death and may be changed at any time before that, provided the individual making the Will is mentally competent. When the property owner dies, there is a need to wind up his or her affairs in an orderly fashion and distribute the net assets in accordance with the terms of the Will or to those who will take the property according to statute. Property that passes under the terms of a Will is subject to the supervision of the probate court in a process called estate administration.