How to Make Up a Simple Will and Have It Notarized

By Jae Allen

Your will designates who is to receive your possessions and assets when you pass away. If you die without leaving a properly executed will, confusion or uncertainty may arise regarding the distribution of your property and how your physical remains should be handled. A will does not have to be signed by a notary public to be legally binding, but a notary's signature helps to establish the validity of your will.

Step 1

Handwrite or type a title for your will, such as "Last Will and Testament." Below this title, write your full legal name, your present home address and your Social Security number or other identifying information such as your date of birth.

Step 2

Write a paragraph affirming that you are of sound mind and memory at the time of writing the will; your wishes are expressed in the document without undue duress or influence from any other person; all previous wills are now revoked; and at the time of writing the will, you are of legal age to create a will. In most U.S. states, the minimum age to write a will is 18. The exceptions are Louisiana (age 16), Georgia (age 14) and South Dakota, which has a higher minimum age.

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Step 3

Designate an executor for your will. You can also name an alternate executor to serve if your first choice is unwilling or unavailable. Often, the executor is either your spouse or the principal beneficiary of your will.

Step 4

Name your beneficiaries in your will. Explicitly state what possessions or assets you wish to bequeath to each person, and make sure their identities are clear – use a full name and date of birth to identify each beneficiary. If you have a spouse and do not wish to make that individual a beneficiary of your will, you should seek legal counsel for advice on how to exclude your spouse from your will.

Step 5

Specify any wishes you have as to your funeral arrangements. If you have specific desires for how your remains should be handled, state them in the will.

Step 6

Place your signature at the end of the will. Your signature should be preceded by a statement that you signed the will before designated witnesses on a particular date. Do not sign the will until your witnesses are present. Leave a signature space for a notary public.

Step 7

Secure the services of a notary public before you sign your will. Many bank branches have notaries on staff, as do most law firms. Take your will to the notary's office and sign in the presence of the notary and your witnesses.

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How to Write a Will in Texas

References

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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.

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 as the testator -- after he dies. A will must be prepared in accordance with state law or it will not be enforced. The laws of the various states differ somewhat on what is required to create a valid will. If your will is declared invalid, your property will be distributed among your relatives in accordance with the state intestacy law.

Do You Have to Notify Someone if They Are No Longer the Executor of Your Will?

Making a will helps ensure your property will be distributed according to your wishes after your death. When you make a will, you designate an executor who is responsible for settling your estate and making sure your wishes are carried out. Your executor may be your spouse, adult child or other family member, or a friend or professional with whom you have a business relationship.

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