A legal will designates the division of a person’s property to heirs and beneficiaries following his or her death. Probate proceedings are initiated following a person’s death to confirm the validity of the will and to execute the terms. In order to avoid the lengthy probate process, it is necessary to establish a living trust. Wills can be used to name guardians over minors and give directives to the guardians as to where the children should live and how their assets should be controlled.

Furthermore, a will can name an executor to make discretionary decisions about properties not explicitly named in the will. A will is a simple but necessary precaution that even relatively young people should take to minimize court proceedings and costs in the event of an unexpected death.