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Wills - What Kinds of Things are Actually Written or Included in a Will?

Updated on November 5, 2011

Up to two thirds of Americans die without a will.  Its just not something that everyone thinks about or plans for.  Its good to have a will for obvious reasons, and to learn all you can.  What is actually written in a will?  Who should have a will?  These are some questions that are easily answered. 

First, your name and address will be in the will, and the statement that "this is indeed your will," will be included.  If you are married, or have any significant assets, then having a will is a wise thing to do.  If you are thinking about having children of if you already do, then you for sure will want to have a will drawn up.

Second, you will have the names and or organizations that are to be your beneficiaries after you die.  These are the people or groups that will share in the dividing up of your estate. Most people mention percentages of their estate in the will, rather than dollar amounts.  This is for the major or primary beneficiaries.  Its hard to know exactly the amount that will be divided up, so this is a wise move.  You can't always tell precisely what your assets will be when you die. 

Many people DO leave specific amounts for the charities they want to give to, however.  The same is true for what is called the secondary inheritors. 

Who are the major players in a will?

The Executor

The job of the executor is to oversee the disposition of your estate.  They have a the biggest or most important job very often.  (Sometimes, it is hard for some parents to pick who the executor should be sometimes, because there are often many in the family that would be suitable executors.  Its good to have some understanding in this area, as sometimes people's feelings can get hurt, but needlessly so.  The last thing the dying parent would ever want is animosity among the children towards each other out of jealousy or hurt, etc. )

The Trustees

The Trustees that are designated are to manage any trust or trusts that have been established.  There should be a second person named for each position.  The reason for this is because often a person is not able to serve in that capacity when the time comes, or they are unwilling sometimes to do so.

The Guardian and any other trustees

The guardian or guardians are to take responsibility for the minor children. Sometimes trustees are appointed to manage the assets for the children, as needed. This is done in cooperation with the guardian or guardians.

* Finally, designation of funds or assets are mentioned in the will, that will go to paying for the estate taxes and inheritance taxes.

Make sure to consider having a will drawn up, especially if you have minor children.  This way, you don't die intestate, and have what could be a very hard time be even harder on your children.


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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you!

    • PhoenixV profile image

      PhoenixV 7 years ago from USA

      Great hub!