postheadericon How to Create Last Wills

Two Methods:Last Will and Testament HelpCreating Your Own WillCommunity Q&A

Having a “last will and testament” in place can be very important for your family and loved ones if you happen to die unexpectedly. Writing a will can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. However, with a little help you can easily write your own will, or you can rely on the assistance of a professional to see you through the process.

Not having a will means that, when you die, a court will decide how your property is divided up. This is usually done fairly, but a court will extract its fees from your “estate” (see below), which means that less is available for those you leave behind.

It’s important to have a last will and testament in place to clearly and legally divide what you leave behind (your estate). This document will also help reduce any financial burden placed on your family, enabling them to avoid costly legal fees in splitting up your assets.


How to Create Last Wills

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How to Create Last Wills

Sample Last Will and Testament Form

How to Create Last Wills

Sample Last Will and Testament

Creating Your Own Will 1 Understand the terms. The estate: this is everything that belongs to you, or of which you own a share. (The word “estate” can be used to describe a large piece of property of considerable value, but in the present case it refers simply to everything you own, as detailed below, no matter what it’s worth.) The decedent. This is a polite legal term for you once you have died (deceased). Intestate. When a person dies without having written a will, (or if there is something wrong with the will which makes it unusable — something that should not happen to you — we say that he/she has died intestate, that is, without a testament. (“Testament” is an old word meaning a signed statement, which is exactly what a will is.) Assets. There are a few valuable things that belong to a person that are not considered part of the estate. Examples include pension plans and life insurance policies. (The latter will provide money for specific persons upon the death of the policy holder.) Usually these assets carry their own instructions which set them apart from the rest of one’s estate. With regard to these particular assets, you have probably already left instructions about their disposition. (If you haven’t, then by all means do so.) Beneficiary. Anyone who gets anything in your will. An Inheritor is anyone who gets anything from your estate when you die, whether or not you left a will. 2 Find out the basics of who can put together a will and who can be witness to it. You must be 18 years of age or older to draft a will. This holds true in all U.S. states. You must be of sound mind and body to draft a will. (In some states you only need to be well enough to be able to give clear instructions. Some states even allow two witnesses to sign for you if for any reason you cannot sign.) You must have two witnesses. No states (except Louisiana) require that you have a notary. The witnesses must be 18 years of age or older. Refer to your state’s inheritance laws to learn whether beneficiaries can act as witnesses. Your will must be typed, not handwritten. In extreme cases, some states may permit a handwritten will. Find out what the law is in your state. If your will is legibly handwritten, properly witnessed and signed, it might be hard for anyone to challenge it. But why take chances? Type it out. 3 Use to look up the statutes related to wills in your state. 4 Consider writing the will yourself. This will be a tremendous cost saver if you have few assets and don’t want to spend too much on a lawyer. Here are some of your alternative resources: Visit a site like to find forms for all 50 states. There you can also look at information to help you prepare for taxes and debts triggered by your death. Use the three-step process at to help you create your last will and testament. You complete a simple online questionnaire that feeds your responses into a legal document they then mail to you. (Note that there has been some dissatisfaction with the services of LegalZoom. Use them at your own risk.) Copy and paste the free text found at to help you draft your will. If you do not enjoy working on the Internet, you might instead choose to purchase a book like “Alpha Last Will and Testament Kit: Special Book Edition With Removable Forms” by Kermit Burton. Have a professional put together your last will and testament if you have a large set of assets, minor children whose interests you want to protect, or if you have a complicated estate. Use the “lawyer find” tool at to help you find an estate-planning lawyer. Look in your local Yellow Pages under “Estate Planning Lawyer” or “Estate Law.” Run a Web search of your town and state followed by the terms “estate planning lawyer,” “estate law” or “last will” to help you find an attorney in your area that can help you draft your will. You can also ask for references from others who have drawn up a will.

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