How to Prepare Simple Wills

By Cindy Hill

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Write Bequests in a Will


Related articles

How to Prepare Last Will & Testament

Widely called simply a will, a last will and testament allows you to control who will care for your minor children and who will receive your property after you die. If you do not prepare a valid will before you die, the probate court in the section of the state you lived in at the time of your death will distribute any property you owned instead. Preparing a will, either on your own or with assistance, is the best way to avoid having state laws determine what happens to your possessions, which may conflict with your personal wishes.

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.

Estate Law on Heirs

The term "heir apparent" is sometimes used to signify the person chosen to succeed the boss in a business, but this distorts the legal meaning. An heir is a person who inherits property after a death if the decedent did not leave a will. In all states, surviving spouses and children top the list.

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

Related articles

How to Make a Legal Will in California

If you are a California resident who is 18 years or older, you can make a valid will without a great expenditure of ...

How to Make a Will by Yourself

If you do not have children or do not have many assets, you may wish to write your own will. Courts in most states will ...

How to List Cash in a Last Will & Testament

A last will and testament contains your final wishes for how and to whom you want your property distributed upon your ...

How to Word a Last Will & Testament

There is no set formula for writing a will, according to the American Bar Association. However, there are certain words ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED