How do I Write a will?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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In order to write a will, all you need is a little planning and forethought. Many different documents can be used to express, to varying degrees of legal certainty, how you would like to disperse your assets. The best way to write a will is to consult with an attorney and make the document official. You can compose a document on your own that will serve as a will and store it in a safe location with a relative degree of certainty that your instructions will be followed. A do-it-yourself will can be as detailed or as spare as you desire, so long as it can be verified to be authentic.

Consulting with an attorney is ideal, but it is also possible to write a will yourself. To begin with, you usually identify the document as a will and note that you are of sound mind. This prevents others from challenging the will on grounds of the writer's mental state. It is a good idea to include a sentence that states that all other wills written prior to the document are invalid to prevent conflicting instructions.


The main body of the will should include all relevant instructions pertaining to property and assets of any kind. If you do not understand legal language or relevant estate taxes, it is a good idea to keep this section as simple as possible. Also, if there are many heirs and you have a lot of property, then dividing it up may become complex. For cases where the will includes information about the care of minors, it is a good idea to be very specific.

One way to write a will is to include percentages of the estate that will be given to each heir. This ensures that each person is treated according to your wishes in terms of money. Another way to write a will is to list specific items that will be given to each person and then include information about how the remainder of the assets will be distributed. This ensures that items of personal significance are given to the appropriate parties.

No matter how you write the will itself, it will not be valid unless there is some way to verify its authenticity. Needless to say, you must be sure to sign the will, but it may also be a good idea to write the entire document by hand. A witness is sometimes valuable for demonstrating authenticity.

Be sure to keep a hard copy of the will. It is also important to name an executor and possibly an alternate and to make sure that the executor is informed of his or her status. The will itself should be kept in a safe place, and it may be a good idea to send a copy to the executor. These steps will help ensure that your wishes are respected.



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