A will is a legal document that sets out your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children or other loved ones.

A will may be the most important document you ever sign.

To maximize the likelihood that your wishes are carried out, you need to ensure that your will meets the legal requirements (such as being in writing and properly witnessed).

Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transition of those assets.

If you have minor children, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimizes tensions among survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.

If you are charitably inclined, a will lets you direct your assets to the charity of your choice. Likewise, if you wish to leave your assets to an institution or an organization, a will can see that your wishes are carried out.