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How do you write your own will?

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Quick Answer

To write your own will, it's best to choose a tool to help write, such as a statutory form or will software, as Nolo advises. You may also choose to use an online program to assist you. Include such information and directives as the naming your executor, an outline of your beneficiaries and declarations of guardianship for minor children. Some people also outline provisions for their pets.

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Full Answer

Wills should clearly state the wishes of the writer, but there's no specific language required when writing a will, as explained by Nolo. Wills should outline your wishes regarding the payment of taxes and debts as well as serve as a backup for your living trust.

Do not try to put conditions on your gifts, leave property for pets or write out instructions for final arrangements, as Nolo advises. However, you should make arrangements for any assets you want to transfer out of probate, and you may want to retain a lawyer for assistance in making those arrangements.

Once you write your will, sign it with two witnesses. Those witnesses don't need to know what's in the will, and their signatures don't need to be notarized for the will to have legal standing. Many states require that you attach a self-proving affidavit to the will, and a notary public must sign that affidavit. Self-proving affidavits make it easier for the will to be probated after your death, but they aren't necessary to make the will legally binding.

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