wex definitions


According to 17 USC § 101 a widow is a person whose spouse died during their marriage and has not since remarried. Also known as a surviving spouse.

[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]

widow's election

See: elective share

[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]


A widower is a person whose spouse died during their marriage and has not since remarried.

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]

wildcard exemption

Wildcard exemption is one of a few exemptions the Federal government and state governments allow in bankruptcy that protects some of the debtor’s personal assets from creditors. In Federal bankruptcy and in states where the wildcard exemption...

wilful killing

"Wilful killing" is a war crime as codified in the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. A prosecution for wilful killing must show the following elements:

A killing of one or more persons,who were protected under the Geneva Conventions...


A will is a legal document that states a testator’s wishes and instructions for managing and distributing their estate after death. In contrast, intestate succession is passing the property of the decedent according to the State’s intestacy...

will contest

A will contest is a probate proceeding where interested parties dispute the validity of a will. The most common legal grounds for disputing the validity of a will are undue influence by someone close to decedent, duress, revocation, mistake,...

will contract

Though transfers by will are normally donative, it is possible to use a will to form an obligatory, legally enforceable contract. A will contract is created when a promise is made and supported by consideration to leave property by will to the promisee...

will execution ceremony

The will execution ceremony is the procedure by which a testator makes known how they want their property to be handled after their death through their will. The execution ceremony has formal requirements such as the signature, attestation and writing...

will substitutes

Will substitutes are functionally indistinguishable from a will because the death beneficiary receives assets at the death of the donor and will substitutes convey no lifetime benefits (personal enjoyment) to the death beneficiary during the lifetime...