How to Make a Will Without a Lawyer

By Brian Richards

A lawyer is helpful in the will creation process because you can be confident that your will has been drafted according to your state’s laws. An attorney’s help is not essential, however. If you feel confident that you can navigate your state’s laws and express your wishes on paper in a clear and unambiguous way, you can make your own will. Each state has different formal requirements, but you may opt to comply with the laws of every state to help ensure that your will is valid.

Step 1

Start a new word processing document or begin writing in ink on a blank sheet of paper. No state is particularly picky about the precise form your will takes, but most require it to be printed in ink.

Step 2

Specify that the document you are creating is your will. Title the document “Last Will and Testament” and identify yourself on the first line by stating your name, city and state of residence, birth date, and your intent to create a final will.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Identify your spouse or most recent ex-spouse by name if applicable. Also supply the date and location of the marriage or divorce.

Step 4

State the number of children you have who are currently living and supply their names. If any of your children are minors who will need care in the event of your death, state that you select a specific individual to act as your children’s guardian. Appoint one or two additional individuals who may act as alternate guardians.

Step 5

Appoint an individual to act as your estate’s personal representative. This individual will handle the legal processes involving your will and oversee the disposition of your assets to your beneficiaries. Appoint one or two additional individuals who may act as alternate personal representatives.

Step 6

Identify clearly any property you are giving away and the person whom you would like to receive the property. Be as descriptive as you can, stating the beneficiary’s full name and relationship to you. When describing property, do so in a way that will be unambiguous. For instance, provide the exact address of a house rather than just saying “my home.”

Step 7

Print your name, your current city and state of residence, and the date at the bottom of your document. Include a line for your signature. Below this line, create three additional areas for the names, addresses and signatures of your witnesses.

Step 8

Sign your will in front of three disinterested witnesses. A disinterested witness is someone who is not a named beneficiary in your will. After you have signed, have the witnesses provide their information and signatures on the appropriate lines.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Create a Will in Idaho

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Get a Will

Many people postpone writing a last will and testament on the assumption that the process is time-consuming and expensive. While tax planning and legal assistance benefit large or complex estates, form wills often work well for simple holdings. Form wills contain the bare bones of a last testament; you fill in the blanks to personalize the document. Few states regulate the contents of devises, but most provide strict statutory requirements for how to sign the will. With a well-prepared form will, you "get a will" in one afternoon.

Steps to Writing a Will

You don’t have to spend your life savings on your estate planning -- in fact, most homeowners with a simple estate and less than $1 million in assets can write a basic will themselves, without the expense involved in hiring an attorney. Writing your own will is relatively easy and inexpensive, and affords you the flexibility to update your estate plan whenever your circumstances demand it.

How to Write a Will in Texas

Texas recognizes three types of wills. Oral, handwritten and typewritten wills are all valid in the state. Texas Probate Code includes the state’s requirements for wills and includes detailed instructions on creating basic documents. You may prepare a will in Texas if you are at least 18 years old,or if you are under 18 but lawfully married or a member of the military.

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

Related articles

How to Write a Last Will

Fewer than half of American adults have a last will and testament, according to the American Bar Association. One ...

How to Make Your Own Legal Will

It is not that hard to cook up a legal will. Take one testator, over the age of 18 and of sound mind. Add a good dose ...

How to Make Changes to Wills in Georgia

If you live in Georgia, you may make changes to your will by executing a codicil. A codicil must comply with Georgia ...

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 ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED