Law & Legal & Attorney Wills & trusts

Writing a Will

    • 1). Begin by choosing an executor for your will. This person will be responsible for carrying out, or "executing" the desires you have listed in your will. Most people like to choose a close friend or relative as their executor. It should also be somebody who you know will be alive at the time of your passing.

    • 2). Start off your will with the correct wording. Regardless of which state you live in, every will should be named "The Last Will and Testament of," followed by your whole first, middle and last name (no nicknames). You must then write a sentence in which you declare that you are "of sound mind and body" and that you aren't under any duress while preparing the will. All this means is that you are stating that you are mentally competent enough to prepare the will and that nobody is forcing you to write any portion of your will.

    • 3). Write the name of your spouse or significant other in your will. In most cases, your spouse will handle the large matters listed in your will, such as bills and funeral arrangements. If you're not married but are living with a boyfriend or girlfriend, it's vital that you list everything you want that person to take care of. After all, the will is the the only legal document binding the two of you together.

    • 4). Consider who you want to take care of your minor children and pets (if you have either or both). It may be funny to you to think of your pets along with your children but the fact is that you'll want to be sure your animals aren't simply taken to a shelter if something happens to you. Speak with very close family members and friends about both members before you make any decision on these matters.

    • 5). Make a list of your belongings and who will receive those in the event of your death. This could be anything from your baseball card collection to your golf clubs to your vehicles. Remember that only significant items should be listed. Writing who you wish to get your blankets, for example, is rather trivial and not necessary for a will.

    • 6). Find witnesses for your will. As with a wedding, you must have at least two people verify the contents of your will and sign off on it. Neither of your witnesses can be listed by name in your will.

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