King Henry VIII, who ruled England from 1509 to 1547, is well known for his six prominent marriages, three divorces (each with a different wife), and having two executed. In 1517, effectively after his first marriage, he became the first king to issue a will and testament.'

A will is a document where a person declares what they wish to happen with their assets when they die. They state who they believe will be the best person to take charge of this process after they are gone.

They may also declare how those assets will be distributed among particular people or organizations. Finally, they may also communicate their desires for their last wishes, such as funeral arrangements.

A will may be used for varying purposes, but the most common is distributing a deceased person's assets among their heirs. A will may also protect assets, provide security to the heirs, and offer a transparent system for handling the estate. Attorneys most often prepare wills, but some forms may be available to assist people in drafting their own. If a will is adequately made and signed, it may be entered into probate and supervised by a court.

A will is a legal document by which a person, the testator, expresses their wishes regarding how their property should be distributed upon death.

The testator, having reached the age of majority, and being of sound mind, usually drafts the will. A properly executed will, when accepted as such, becomes, upon the testator's death: (1) a legally valid, binding public document, and (2) an evidentiary document that may be admitted to prove the validity of the will, the testamentary capacity, or the identity of the testator. In some jurisdictions, certain gifts made in a will, such as those to benefit charity or that are free of encumbrances, are exempt from the technical requirements for execution of a will.

Prohibited Provisions
  • A will cannot require an heir to commit an illegal act against public policy. A will does not need an heir to commit an immoral act. Just as a state cannot enforce against a person in the will, a will cannot be executed over a person because of a failure to act.
  • A will must designate those parties to receive an inheritance, and they must be family members. If that was not present in the will, then family members must accept what they think is their fair share.
  • A child cannot be disinherited except when they are already deceased.