Even though a will is something that most people don’t like to think about, it is an important legal document that you will need to have in the event of your death. If you die today without a will, then the state that you live in can decide the fate of your minor children and how your property will be distributed.
Laws differ from state to state, and you will need to consult an attorney who actively practices in the state you live in to make your will legal. Most states require that you are at least eighteen years of age. You can start by sitting down and writing out a basic will that reflects your final wishes.
Your will should consist of the following:
The Title and the First Paragraph– Title your document, “The Last Will and Testament of -“, and insert your name in place of the dash. State your full name and address in the first paragraph. Write down a statement that says that you are of sound mind and that you are under no duress in writing your will.
This simply means that whatever you state as being your last wishes in the following paragraphs are exclusively your wishes and that you are not being influenced or forced by someone else to make a request that you do not actually want to make.
The second paragraph– If you are married, then you must state this fact along with your spouse’s name. You must also state your children’s names if you have any. If none of this applies to you, then simply move onto the next paragraph.
Note: If applicable, you will also need to assign a guardian for your minor child(ren) at this point.
The third paragraph– You will now name the person you choose to be the executor or the executrix of your will. That is the person who will be in charge of carrying out your final wishes. State also how you wish this person to handle your financial affairs, such as paying taxes, funeral costs, final expenses, etc.
The fourth paragraph– Start listing your gift requests to certain beneficiaries. If you want to leave your coin collection to your son, for example, write that request as well as any others you may have. If you have no gift requests, then you can move on to the next paragraph.
The final paragraph– This is where you will decide who gets the residue of your property. The residue is anything that you have not requested to be given to a specific person.
Finally, you will need to sign your will in front of at least two witnesses who are of legal age. Keep in mind that no one who is named in your will may be a witness to your signing. Also, you do not need to reveal the contents of your will to the witnesses. They only need to be aware of the fact that the document you are signing is, in fact, your last will and testament.
You will then need to consult your attorney so that he or she can take the necessary steps to make your will completely legal in the state that you live in.