Writing Your Own Will Tutorial for Writing a Will Correctly

Is it legal to be writing your own will? Yes. In many states, your handwriting on a napkin is sufficient enough for the courts. With legal fees as expensive as they are, writing a will yourself could save you hundreds of dollars. Be sure you fully understand your own state laws and then use the following tutorial to ensure you have all of the needed parts:

    1. Declarations. This page includes your full legal name, date of birth, and address. Write a little bit about who you are and summarize your wishes to give others sufficient evidence that you are really the one who wrote this will. Make sure you state that you are of a "sound mind" and over eighteen. Add that you are not being coerced, doing it "of your own free will." Also, add that you are revoking any previous written wills and attachments (called codicils), this being your "last" one.

    2. Executor Statement. Specifically name the person who will manage your financial affairs after you die. Be sure it is someone you trust such as your spouse or close friend.

    It should be someone who knows you personally and will carry out your wishes. Do not use someone who has a personal conflict or will benefit with one of your beneficiaries. Ask this person in advance to ensure they are comfortable with being an Executor for your estate. Do not harbor any bad feelings if they say no. It maybe as simple as they are not wanting to do something wrong.

    And in that vein, when writing your own will, it is wise to choose an Alternate Executor in the event your primary choice is not able to do it when the time comes.

    3. Guardian. Do you have dependent children? Who will take care of them? Appoint someone you inexplicably trust will raise them with the same Biblical guidelines as you do now. Make sure you understand who these people really you are and talk with them about your decision to ensure they are comfortable with "being the new parents" should that time come.

    4. Beneficiaries. When writing a will on your own, this is the section to list who gets what when you die. Sorry, but you need to write that matter-of-factly. State their full name, address, in relationship and what you are giving each person. Be as specific as possible with reasons why to minimize or eliminate any "he did not mean that" conflicts.

    5. Burial and Funeral. On this page be specific about how you preferred to be buried, cremated, or entombed. Include preferences and specifics such as public or private and how much crying there should be. Okay, I just kidding, but do consider the tone and atmosphere you would like, such as ensuring the gospel is presented to those there.

    6. Signatures. As you are writing your own will, make sure you have all the required parts as explained above and then you are almost done. The signatures page makes it all legal like. It validates the document and verifies you are you. Again, check your state requirements, but most require two witnesses, including their full name, signature, and current address. These are the same people who physically witnessed your own signing, in the same way the Pastor, judge, or town clerk witnessed your marriage certificate signing.

    7. Make Copies. Okay, after carefully figuring out this will stuff and having it properly signed, you still have one more step. Make copies and give to each person who needs one such as the Executor, attorney, etc., keeping the original signed in an envelope at your home. Make sure it can be immediately accessed when you die.

With all of this done, could you still be challenged or overruled after writing your own will? Yes, if you have not "crossed all the T's and dotted all the I's" properly. Be sure you have complied with all of your state laws. If you have a large estate, it might be best to spend the money to have your well written for you. If your financial affairs are not complicated, using a reputable will writing software program, legal forms website, or a less expensive will writing service will be more than adequate. It could save you money as you strive to keep spending within your household budgeting guidelines.

Whatever you choose, do something and do not let some disgruntled family member convince a judge to change your wishes. And no, I am not a lawyer nor is this legal advice. It is simply a guideline for writing your will or having the basic knowledge to know if a lawyer, prepaid legal service, or software program gets at least the legal basics included.

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