How to Write a Last Will and Testament
There are many tips for writing a last will you can follow. A last will and testament form, typically referred to as a will, is a legal document that allows you to decide how to divide up your property and possessions after your death. A person who creates a will is called a “testator.” There are many steps to creating a will and you want to make sure you do not leave anything important out of it. Creating a list as you decide which assets and property to include can ensure your valuable property is included. The process of how to write a last will and testament is only slightly different than if you were to go through an estate attorney. However, it is important to note the laws pertaining to the creation and validity of a last will and testament will vary by state. Find tips for writing a last will and testament by reading the sections provided below.
How to Write Your Own Last Will and Testament
The first of five tips for writing a last will is to decide which of your belongings you want to include in it. When thinking about what to include on a testament, commonly included items are monetary assets you may own, personal property, stocks, bonds and vehicles. If you have children under the age of 18 or who are otherwise legally considered minors, you can also use your will to appoint a guardian to take care of them.
The second of five tips for a writing a last will and testament is to decide who you believe should inherit the property or items you are planning to include in your will. You can choose any individuals in your life. A last will and testament form can also include a donation to a company or organization which you supported before your death. If you leave property to your children and they are under the age of 18, you will need to appoint someone to manage the property for them until they come of age. This can be the legal age at which they become an adult, or it can be the age you dictate in your will.
The third of five tips for a writing a last will is to decide who will be your executor or the person in charge of ensuring your will is carried out according to your directions. Will and testament executors are also referred to as fiduciaries, and you may choose anyone over the age of 18 who has not been convicted of a felony. Your executor for your last will and testament form will have specific duties aside from ensuring the content of your will is properly distributed according to your wishes. So, it may be beneficial for you to include specific instructions for the executor to follow in your will. For example, when writing your last will and testament, you can state how the executor should handle funds for a specific cause, such as the education of a child, to ensure that your assets are handled the way you want them to be after you are gone.
The fourth of five tips for a writing a last will and testament is to sign it in front of witnesses and have your witnesses sign as well. You will at least two people present to act as witnesses, but this number may vary according to the state in which you live.
The fifth and final tip for a writing a last will and testament is to make sure you keep the will in a safe place.
Note: If there is anything about writing a last will and testament you do not understand, whether you plan to write the will on your own or not, you may need to contact or hire an attorney before you begin creating your last will and testament. When wondering how to write a last will and testament, speaking with an attorney can help by walking you through the steps of creating a will that will meet all of your states legal requirements. Additionally, an attorney can help determine what to include on a testament and what can be left out. However, hiring or speaking with a lawyer beforehand is not always necessary and can be expensive.
For more information on how to write your last will and testament, download our free online guide here.
How to Write Your Own Last Will and Testament
If you wish to learn how to write your own will, you will simply need to follow the steps listed above. You will still need to have it witnessed by the number of people your state require sin order for the document to be validated. Do not worry about what to include on a testament, because you can include anything you want, as long as it can be easily interpreted and follows legal requirements of your state in order to declare it a valid last will and testament. If you decide not to use a prewritten last will and testament form, you will need to make sure the paper you do use clearly states that the document you used is your will.
Note: Depending on your state, if you decide to write your will on your own, you may need to have it signed and witnessed in front of a notary public.
For more information on how to write your own last will and testament, download our comprehensive guide.