Most people put off writing their will because they assume they have plenty of time to do it later. Unfortunately for some individuals, "later" comes too soon and die intestate or without a will. If you die without a written will, the state is responsible for determining how your estate and assets should be distributed and will not consider the wishes of your family members. You can easily create your own legal will to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death.
Start your will by typing a title. For example, type "Last Will and Testament of (your name)." You should type your full legal name including middle name. Don't use any nicknames. Wills must be typed as opposed to handwritten.
Follow the title with a statement giving your address. Type a declaration that you are of sound mind, are not writing under duress and are of legal age. Type a statement that you now revoke all other codicils or wills made by you in the past.
Name an executor of your estate in your will. The executor will handle the details of your estate and distribute your assets after you die. Executors are usually family members or close friends. Consider an alternate executor should your first choice be unable to fulfill their role as executor.
Authorize the executor to sell any property and real estate you own. Give the executor the power to pay all debts, funeral expenses, taxes and all other expenses related to your estate at the time of your death.
Select a guardian for your minor children in the event that your spouse or partner dies before or at the same time as you. Before making this determination, discuss the possibility with family and friends.
List all beneficiaries of your estate. Decide how much property and money each person should receive. Consider listing each as a specific dollar amount or as a percentage of your estate. Include if you would like a certain association to receive a bequest from your estate.
Discuss with your family and friends the type of funeral service you would like held on your behalf. Type in your will any special requests such as being buried in a certain location, cremation, the spreading of ashes in a special place and details regarding the service.
Locate a notary public to witness your signature. You can search for a notary in your state on 123Notary.com and NotaryRotary.com. Louisiana is the only state that requires wills to be notarized. However, other states do recommend this step.
All states do require wills to have two or three witnesses who are not named as beneficiaries in the will. Include the full name and addresses of your witnesses. Type a declaration that states that all witnesses are of sound mind, of legal age and believe you to be of sound mind and legal age too. Have a notary public witness their signature to show they are under no duress.
Consider having an attorney look over your will once completed. Keep your will in a safe location and give copies to your family and friends. You can place your will in a safety deposit box or file it at the county courthouse, but neither is required.
- Using a safety deposit box could make it difficult for your family and friends to have access to your will after your death. In addition, filing your will with the county courthouse could delay you in making changes to your will in the future. If you do amend your will but don't file the new one with your county, there could some confusion as to which version would have priority after you die.
- signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com