A will is a formal document outlining how you wish to have your money, property, and personal belongings allocated and distributed after your death, including who you want as your personal representative. In the absence of a will, Minnesota’s intestate succession laws will govern how your assets will be divided. These succession laws have a predetermined hierarchy for distribution of your assets – spouses and children come first, followed by grandchildren, parents, brothers/sisters, or other distant relatives if there are no closer relatives. Minnesota’s intestate succession laws do not permit for the distribution of property to friends or charities. Therefore, if you wish to leave property or other assets to a friend or charitable organization, you must have a will that specifically outlines this desire. If you have minor children or grandchildren in your care and custody, wills can also provide an opportunity to dictate who will care for your children in the event of your death.