How to Make My Own Will Free of Charge

By A.L. Kennedy

Writing your own will is a process that does not need to cost money. If you have limited assets and straightforward child custody plans or no minor children, making your own will free of charge may be an option for you. If you have a complex financial portfolio or your children will require special care or financial arrangements, however, you may wish to speak to an experienced attorney in your state about the details of your will.

Writing your own will is a process that does not need to cost money. If you have limited assets and straightforward child custody plans or no minor children, making your own will free of charge may be an option for you. If you have a complex financial portfolio or your children will require special care or financial arrangements, however, you may wish to speak to an experienced attorney in your state about the details of your will.

Step 1

Choose a personal representative. A personal representative is responsible for taking legal control of your assets and debts and wrapping up your estate when you die. A personal representative also represents the estate in probate court. Many people choose a spouse, relative or close friend to serve as a personal representative, but you may choose any competent individual who is 18 years old or older. You may also wish to designate a secondary personal representative in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve when the time comes. If you do not choose a personal representative, the court will choose for you in most states.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 2

Describe at least one of your personal assets or belongings and state who should receive it. Although you may distribute all of your personal assets and belongings in your will, you must distribute at least one thing in order for your will to be valid in most states. You may distribute items in groups. For instance, you may write that you are leaving your spouse all your household furniture.

Step 3

Choose a guardian for your children if you have one or more children under age 18. The guardian may be any competent person over 18 years of age in most states. The guardian takes physical and legal custody of the children if both parents are deceased or unavailable and is responsible for raising them and ensuring their daily needs are met. You may wish to ask a person's permission before you appoint him as guardian for your children, and you may wish to appoint an alternative guardian if your first choice becomes unable or unwilling to take the children after your death. The court will appoint a guardian for your children if you do not name one or if the one you choose cannot perform the duties of a guardian.

Step 4

Sign and date your will at the bottom. You should sign and date your will in the presence of at least two witnesses, both of whom must be competent adults 18 years old or older. If you are in Vermont, you will need three witnesses. After watching you sign your will, the witnesses should also sign and date the will below your signature. Although you may have a notary public serve as a witness, notarization is not a substitute for the required number of witnesses in most states.

Step 5

Keep your will in a safe place, such as a fire safe or a safe deposit box. You may wish to leave a copy with a trusted friend or relative. If you make any copies of your will, mark them clearly with the word "copy." You may also wish to add instructions that explain where the original will can be found.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Naming a Legal Guardian in Your Will

References

Resources

Related articles

Legal Guardianship in Nebraska

Nebraska law recognizes that certain people cannot take care of themselves because of their age or mental condition. For example, elderly people who have diseases, such as dementia, and minor children need help caring for their physical and financial needs. Thus, Nebraska has a system whereby courts appoint guardians and conservators for children or incompetent adults to take care of them physically and manage their finances until they become capable of caring for their own needs, if ever. If you have minor children, you can nominate such a guardian as part of your will.

Forms for Kentucky Wills

A will is a legal document that tells your family how to distribute your assets and manage your affairs after your death. In Kentucky, as in other states, wills must meet certain basic requirements to be enforceable. Since wills vary based on the needs and situation of the person creating each document, the state does not provide forms. Instead, Kentucky residents wishing to create a will generally must visit a lawyer or an online legal document provider to obtain their wills.

How Can I Do My Own Will?

Less than half of American adults have wills. One reason for this low figure might be the common perception that wills are complicated and expensive to prepare. Although large and complex estates may require estate-planning services and legal advice, many people with smaller holdings use simple testaments. All jurisdictions accept self-drafted testaments that meet probate requirements. Some states -- such as California -- make it easy for people to draft their own wills by providing a valid form will in the statutes and allowing handwritten wills.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to Make Your Own Will Forms

A will is a document that tells a probate court how to distribute the assets of the person who wrote the will -- known ...

How to Make Out a Simple Will

If you have property, you should have a will. This document specifies how your assets should be divided on your death, ...

What to Include in a Last Will & Testament

While you will enjoy unlimited freedom to revise your last will and testament during the course of your lifetime, any ...

What Is Involved in Making a Will?

Your will is a legal document that explains how you want your property distributed after your death. If you have minor ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED