How To Create a Will In 3 Steps

by Brian Richards
Wills need not be drafted by lawyers.

Wills need not be drafted by lawyers.

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A will directs how you would like your property distributed at your death. If you die without a will--referred to as dying intestate--your property will be distributed according to your state's laws. No state requires that wills be drafted by an attorney, so you may create your own will at home. Each state's laws are slightly different, and depending on your state, you may need to sign your will before witnesses.

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Step 1

Select your executor, who will be your personal representative after your death. This person will settle your debts and disburse your property to your heirs, so select someone you trust. Write his name, clearly identifying him as your estate's executor, along with the names of one or two people who can serve as backup executors in case your first choice in unavailable or unwilling.

Step 2

Outline in detail your desires for your property. There is no magic language in writing a will; you need only to clearly describe your property and be specific in who you want to inherit the property. For instance, write "I give my house at 123 Maple Street to my daughter Jane Doe." Provide as much detail as you can to avoid any vagueness or ambiguity in your will.

Step 3

Sign your will in front of three witnesses who are not named as beneficiaries (meaning that your will does not give them anything). Some states require only two witnesses while others do not require any, but selecting three individuals will help to ensure that you comply with your state's laws. Have all three people watch you sign your will and then sign their own names.