How to Draft a Simple Will

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A will states what will happen to everything you own following your death. Writing one costs time and money. A "simple will" states who you want to take care of your children, who you want to receive your property and the name of the person--the executor--you would like to carry out your wishes. Always seek professional legal advice to guarantee the validity of your will.

Step 1

Write the title "The Will of ..." and insert your name. For example: "The Will of Jane Doe."

Step 2

State your full name and location on a new line and declare that the document contains your will. For example: "I, Jane Mary Doe, of Buffalo, New York, declare that this is my will."

Step 3

Write a revocation of previous wills. This states that the contents of the will override any other wills made previously. Word it like this: "I revoke all wills and codicils previously made by me."

Step 4

Add a paragraph providing personal information, including your date of birth, your marital status and details of children. Include full names and relevant dates, such as dates of birth, marriage, separation and divorce.

Step 5

State the name of the person you nominate to be guardian to your children, if relevant.

Step 6

Write a section describing how you will divide your estate and what percentage each person will receive. It may be as simple as "I leave 100 percent of my estate to my husband, named above." You may also name several people who will receive different percentages.

Step 7

Write a section for specific gifts, if relevant. For example: "I leave my friend Joe Bloggs, of Rochester, New York, my entire porcelain doll collection."

Step 8

Nominate a person as executor and a second person for the role if the first cannot fulfill it. This person must ensure your wishes are carried out in the event of your death.

Step 9

Add a section for your own and the witnesses' signatures. You will need at least two witnesses to sign the will at the same time as you. This section needs to state that the undersigned personally witnessed you signing the document. Include the date and location.

Step 10

Add section headings to ensure the document is clear. These may be as simple as "Personal Information," "Beneficiaries," "Gifts," "Executors" and "Witnesses."


About the Author

Dave Koenig has written professionally since 2005. His writing interests include the arts, film, religion and language. Koenig holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical-theological studies from Manchester University and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education in religious studies from Lancaster University.

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