How to Write Bequests in a Will

By Cindy Hill

A bequest is a provision of your will that directs a particular sum of money or item of property to be given to a particular person or entity after your death. Specific bequests allow you to ensure that items of sentimental value, even those with little monetary value, are directed to the hands of your friends or relatives who will treasure them. Bequests also create a valuable method of making contributions to civic and charitable organizations that have meant a lot to you during your lifetime.

Step 1

Write a thorough inventory of your items of personal property.

Step 2

Examine your inventory of personal property items. Determine which items, if any, have sentimental value that makes it appropriate for specific devise to family members or friends, and which items, if any, have monetary value that you would like to devise to individuals or organizations. Circle these items in pencil, noting next to each the person or organization to whom you would like to bequeath the item.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Create a list of your financial assets and accounts. Note the name of each financial institution and any designating account numbers.

Step 4

Review your list of financial assets and accounts. Determine what sums of money, if any, you would like to leave to individuals or to organizations. Note these monetary amounts and the name of the person or organization in pencil on your list of financial assets and accounts.

Step 5

Write your specific bequest provisions, placing each bequest in a separate paragraph and beginning each paragraph with the phrase, "I give, devise and bequeath." Include a detailed description of the personal property item or sum of money and account source, followed by a detailed description of the person or entity to whom you are making the bequest. Include his full legal name and address.

Step 6

Write a final bequest paragraph that leaves the rest, residue and remainder of your estate -- any funds or personal property left over after the other specific bequests have been fulfilled -- to a person or organization of your choosing.

Step 7

Write the language required by your state to conclude your will, and execute the will with the appropriate number of witnesses or other formalities required by your state in order to make your bequests legally valid.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to List a Charity as Your Beneficiary


Related articles

How to Write a Financial Hardship Letter to Creditors

A hardship letter is a statement written by a borrower to a creditor describing a change in his financial situation. Many creditors require a hardship letter when the borrower requests financial assistance or alternative payment options. The letter should provide a detailed explanation of the type of assistance the borrower wants, the cause of the financial hardship and the current financial situation leading to non-payment of debt. Once a creditor has the full picture of the borrower's financial situation, he may approve an alternative payment plan, a temporary forbearance or other financial options.

Inventory List for a Last Will & Testament

A complete inventory list for your last will and testament helps you avoid omissions and mistakes during your estate planning. A last will is a document containing all of your instructions for the division of your assets when you die. In order to address your entire potential estate, you must make a list of what you own first.

How to Leave an Entire Estate to Various Charities

Without an estate plan or will, your state’s laws determine how your assets will be distributed upon your death, typically giving your property to close relatives. However, with the right planning, you can donate your entire estate to charity using tools like a will or trust. A will gives gifts outright, and trusts manage your assets while giving periodic payments to the charities of your choice.

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

Related articles

How to Prepare Simple Wills

A simple will contains only the bare elements necessary to create a legal will including naming an executor, naming a ...

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 Create a Revocable Trust

A revocable living trust allows you to provide for the distribution of your property after your death. When you set up ...

How to Write a Will in Arizona

Detailing your last wishes and the distribution of your belongings to loved ones in your will helps avoid confusion ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED