Will and codicil law is the branch of law for the legal declaration of a person's wishes regarding the disposal of his property after death which is usually written in a formally executed instrument.
A valid will can help ensure the orderly distribution of one's property upon death. A will generally must satisfy the requirements set out in state law in order for the will to be valid. This includes various signature, witness, and other requirements. Once drafted, wills may amended in certain ways. A codicil is a written document that adds or subtracts language from a written will. Written wills may also be revoked.
Absent a valid will, state intestacy laws will specify who gets when a person dies. These laws generally provide for surviving spouses and children, and then grandparents and other family relatives.
Wills are often challenged or contested by beneficiaries who are not satisfied with their inheritances. These will contests often involve claims for undue influence and lack of mental capacity. Beneficiaries may also bring other claims against third parties for interfering with the will.