How to Prepare Simple Wills

by Cindy Hill
    A simple will can be easy to prepare and take care of your estate planning needs.

    A simple will can be easy to prepare and take care of your estate planning needs.

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    A simple will contains only the bare elements necessary to create a legal will including naming an executor, naming a guardian for any minor children, making specific bequests of property or cash, and disposing of any remainder or residue of your estate. A simple will must also include a declaration of intent and be signed and witnessed in accordance with the laws of your state. Knowing how to prepare a simple will will give you the tools to settle the disposition of your property after your death -- if you have a relatively small estate with few legal and business entanglements.

    Step 1

    Type or write in pen and ink a statement declaring that this is your last will, revoking all prior wills and codicils. Also state in writing that you are at least 18 years of age and of sound mind at the time of making this will, assuming that this is true; if it is not true, then you may not be legally authorized to make a will under the laws of your state.

    Step 2

    Write a statement declaring any specific bequests of items of personal property or money which you desire to make, including a detailed description of the item or the source from which the cash is to be taken, as well as the full legal name and address of the person or organization to which you are making the bequest.

    Step 3

    Identify the person or entity to whom you wish to receive the rest, residue and remainder of your estate. Specify the percentages of the division of value of your estate that you are leaving to each person or entity if you are designating more than one.

    Step 4

    Name the executor, and an alternative executor, to administer your estate. State whether you wish the executor to be required to post a bond.

    Step 5

    Select a guardian for any minor children you have. Identify an alternative guardian in the event your first selection is unable to fulfill this important obligation.

    Step 6

    Sign the will in front of witnesses, and have those witnesses sign and attest that they witnessed your will, in accordance with the specific requirements of your state for the legal execution of a will.

    Things Needed

    • Inventory of your personal property and financial assets

    Tips & Warnings

    • Inventory your personal property and financial assets before writing a simple will to ensure that you are aware of the full extent of your estate.

    About the Author

    A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images