Wills do not need to contain magic language to be a valid legal document. As long as your will complies with Idaho laws regarding will creation, your will is likely valid. For this reason, a testator -- the person who is drafting a will -- may create his own estate plan without the aid of an attorney. An attorney is, however, useful in making sure you comply with all of Idaho's formalities. Idaho also allows holographic wills -- wills that are written in the testator's own handwriting and signed at the bottom -- which have fewer formal requirements.
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Create a new, blank document either in a word processing program or on a physical sheet of paper. In Idaho, all wills must be in writing and must be in ink.
Identify the purpose of the document, such as by titling it "Last Will and Testament."
Identify yourself by name, city and state of residency, birth date, and birthplace. Include a statement describing your marital status, including the name of your spouse or most recent former spouse. Provide dates for marriage or divorce as appropriate. Identify the number of children you have, if any, and supply their names.
Select an individual whom you trust to act as your personal representative. His duties will begin after your death, and he will be responsible for managing your estate and giving your property to your beneficiaries. Write a statement appointing your chosen person by name as your personal representative, and supply one or two additional names as individuals who may serve as backup in the event your first choice cannot or chooses not to serve as your representative.
Carefully describe your personal property and your intended beneficiary. The more detailed your descriptions, the more likely the court will recognize your dispositions. For instance, write "I give my house at 123 Oak Street, Cityname, Idaho, to my daughter, Jane Doe."
Write your name, current city and state of residence, and date at the bottom of your will. Include lines for your signature and the names, addresses and signatures of at least two witnesses.
Sign the will in the presence of at least two witnesses. After you have signed, have your witnesses write their names and addresses on the lines you created. Finally, have the witnesses sign the will.
Tips & Warnings
Though Idaho law permits testators to draft their own wills without the aid of an attorney, it is wise to enlist the aid of an experienced estate planner to ensure that your will follows all formalities. You will not know for sure whether the will is valid until after your death, at which point it is too late to correct any mistakes. Therefore, it is always best to have a lawyer assist you.
References & Resources
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