Wikipedia explains: "A Will or Testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death.
In the strictest sense, a "will" has historically been limited to real property while "testament" applies only to dispositions of personal property (thus giving rise to the popular title of the document as "Last Will and Testament"), though this distinction is seldom observed today".
You can make your own Will in any way you like, as long as it is properly witnessed; there is no need to go to a lawyer. In Australia, you can collect forms from the internet to guide you through the processes of making your own will, and some law firms also have 'quick and easy' ways where you do most of the work yourself for minimal cost
Of course, if your estate is complex, or if there are people whom you do not want to inherit your money or goods, then it is probably wise to consult a lawyer. Different jurisdictions have slightly different requirements about estates, and in some cases (such as soldiers at war) even an oral testimony as to their wishes can be accepted.
Even if you do not consult a lawyer, it is wise to make sure you know the proper procedure in the place where you live – and also the consequences if you do not make a will (this is called being 'intestate', meaning 'without a testament').
Obviously there are good reasons for each person to have their own Will.
The same can be said for succession planning within a group, organisation or business. It is particularly an issue on family farms, where sometimes it is not at all clear where the demarcation is between the parents who want to keep living there even in their partial retirement, and the children who may have been doing the major part of the physical work for many, many years, and no-one wants to sit down and discuss it.
My experience of succession planning is within Christian Mission; a situation where people are also sometimes reluctant to sit down and discuss the exact terms of the handover when someone leaves or unexpectedly dies.
The first occasion this happened was when Delma (my spouse), and I believed the Lord was Calling us from Moruya on the New South Wales south coast where we'd established the Basil Sellers Respite facility for Australian Institute of Sport athletes, to another location.
Delma had been seeking the Lord to relocate for about three years, as her elderly widowed mother on the north coast of the State required family care and attention. We both recognised that the Lord would provide the right timing and succession process; and this did fall into place until the end of 2005.
The second occasion that a succession plan was required was more recently. The relocation to the north coast to Tweed Heads provided an opportunity to duplicate the Basil Sellers Respite facility ministry in the Tweed for SE Qld AIS Sport Units and to allow ourselves a recuperative period so as to further develop some of our other mission interests.
These included the Footplate Padre ministry, Tourism and Art Ministries, Country Town Tours and the Around the Tables ministries, the Press Service International (PSI) writing and more recently the Australian Missionary News IPTV.
Each of these fell into the Portfolio Categories, in that they each had specific time or travel allocations and none of them was anything like requiring a full time commitment. Each one is immensely enjoyable and personally fulfilling.
It became obvious however that a succession plan for our Well-Being Australia athlete respite responsibilities was required. We now have in place, should the Lord call me Home to Glory, someone to take over as the Public Officer for the Incorporated Body, someone to take over my mobile phone number as the AIS Respite facility booking link and thirdly, someone to drop in the AIS Respite flyers and meet the coaches at the SE Qld AIS Sport Units.
In addition we have developed a team of five young writers who each write a sports article for Christian Today Australia once a week; and young anchormen and women for the Australian Missionary News IPTV and in addition, a co-ordinator to take over the 'ministry components' should the Lord call me home to Glory.
Every Christian Mission is in the continuing process of working through such succession plans. Such planning has many Bible examples such as Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul to Timothy as one of many in the New Testament.
In a Christian business or mission, there in fact two succession processes.
The first is physically passing on the responsibility of the 'business' of the mission or ministry; and the second is the spiritual act of teaching others in that specialist area, to teach the truths of the Gospel and passing on the faith.
In this sense, every Christian is part of the Great Commission and has a duty in this magnificent continuous succession plan, not only to plan for the succession of their skills, but also to ensure the succession of spreading the 'good news' of Jesus.