A will provides instructions for distributing your assets to your family and other beneficiaries upon your death. An attorney will draft its provisions to meet your needs. You appoint a representative, known as an executor, to distribute your assets. If you have minor children, you will designate a guardian for them. The guardian will have the legal authority with regard to your children’s welfare. You should have a trustee to control the assets you leave children until an agreed age of maturity. To be effective, a will must be filed in probate court upon your death. Probate is a judicial process for managing your assets if you become incapacitated and do not have a durable power of attorney, and for transferring your assets in an orderly fashion when you die. The court oversees payments to beneficiaries as well as the payment of liabilities of the estate. Because a will does not take effect until you die, it cannot provide for management of your assets if you become incapacitated.