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What are the different parts of a will?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Estate Planning

A loved one dying is always upsetting. However, a will serves as an important document outlining this person’s wishes for the distribution of their assets and the care of their loved ones.

It has several key parts, each one playing a big role in the overall document.

Executor designation

One of the most important aspects of a will is the choice of an executor. The executor is responsible for managing the deceased’s estate. This includes gathering assets, paying debts and distributing property according to the terms of the will.

Asset distribution

The core purpose of a will is to outline how others should distribute the deceased’s assets among beneficiaries. This section specifies who will inherit which assets. These assets could be real estate, financial accounts, personal belongings or other property.

Guardianship provisions

For individuals with minor children, a will allows them to pick a guardian who will assume responsibility for the care of their children in the event of their death. This provision ensures that trustworthy people raise these children.


In some cases, a will may establish one or more trusts to manage assets on behalf of beneficiaries. Trusts can be useful for various purposes. These can include providing ongoing financial support for minor children or ensuring that people distribute assets gradually over time.

Residuary clause

The residuary clause addresses any assets that are not specifically mentioned in other parts of the will. It ensures that people give away any remaining property or assets according to the deceased’s wishes, rather than being subject to intestacy laws.

Witness signatures

To be legally valid, a will typically requires the signatures of witnesses who can attest to the document’s authenticity. The number of witnesses required and the specific witnessing requirements may vary depending on state laws.

Relying on verbal instructions for estate planning often does not work. By taking the time to write a will, individuals can rest easy knowing they choose what happens to their heirlooms and assets.