What is a Will?
There is only one thing in life we can be certain of; that is eventually we all will die. The death angel can capture your soul anytime and any day without prior warning or signals. Before you die, you naturally want to secure the future of your family and loved ones.
A will can be understood as,
“A legal document by a person who wants to make sure that personal items and assets go to specific people or to a group upon his death”.
“It is a legally enforceable declaration directing the disposal of a decedent’s property. A will is also called testament”.
“A will is a written statement, usually signed, made by an individual, which direct the distribution of their property when they die”.
Writing a Will
You can make your own will in your life because you don’t want the local or state courts to decide how much portion of your wealth goes to who. Writing a will is one of the best things you can do for ensuring a sound life of your loved ones after you are gone.
Requirements for Writing a Will
Before writing a will, you need to make certain that you are in sound mental and physical health and of contractual capacity. However, every will is prone to scrutiny and legal procedures after the death of the will writer.
Using Free Will Forms: Printable/ Non-Printable/ Downloadable
Free will forms both printable and non-printable are available for download on the internet by type and kind. However, it is always recommended that one consults legal help or a lawyer for soliciting a will.
Legal Procedure of Will Writing for Canada, California, Texas and Louisiana
How to Write a Will in Canada?
Writing a will in Canada is a comparatively less binding legal procedure where you can create your own will but involving your estate lawyer or getting legal advice is still a better idea. You can find the guide steps for drafting a Canadian will here and here.
How to Write a Will in California?
To write your own will as a state resident of California follow the step wise guide provided here. However, as a cautionary note, please remember that writing your own will may result in unintended consequences, misinterpretation and perhaps litigation where probate might be unavoidable.
How to Write a Will in Texas?
To write your own will as a state resident of Texas follow the step wise guide provided here. The will might still need witnesses, executioners and other legally binding requirements to be considered complete.
How to Write a Will in Louisiana?
To write your own will as a state resident of Louisiana follow the step wise guidelines provided here while the legal requirements of Louisiana wills can be found here.
Helpful Resources for Drafting a Will or Testament
Generally, there are four ways that make the task of writing a will easier for you. You can opt for any of these methods to get your will prepared accurately and in least possible time.
- By hiring a solicitor and depending on his mastery
- Download or purchase a do-it-yourself will software
- Avail the services of a writer who specializes in writing wills
- Take help from the online will writing services
Online will writing service is becoming increasingly popular because it costs less than the fee of a solicitor and will drafting software such as WH Smith.
Different Kinds of Wills
A living will is a written statement or legal document which states the wishes of a person regarding life prolonging medical treatments in case he/she is no longer in the condition to be able to express their consent. It is also referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician’s directive.
Last Will or Testament
A last will or testament is the latest legal document in which the testator (author of the will) names one or more persons to manage, own or hold his estate and property by providing for the transfer of his property at the time of death.
Guide Steps on How to Write Your Own Will
1. Identify Yourself
Begin by identifying yourself with your full name, address and date of document. You also need to declare here that you are in fair mental state and making this decision without any undue influence.
2. Details of Beneficiaries
List the name of all your living relatives including their addresses and contact numbers. Also mention the names of any other beneficiaries other than your relatives such as business partners, associates or charity organizations.
3. Appoint an Executor
You need to appoint an executor who will be responsible for paying all your taxes and funeral expenses; he will also act as an administrator of your estate. It is the duty of your executor to ensure that all your wishes are carried out. The executor can be a family member or someone from your social circle you trust. Provide the full details of the executor including his name and address.
4. Details of Assets
Make a list of all your assets including land, equipment, cash, investments and personal belongings. Mention their exact worth and state clearly how much percentage would go to each beneficiary.
Seal your will with your official signatures. Have two to three witnesses sign your will as per the law.
6. Store in a Safe Place
Now that your will is written and signed in good order, you need to store it in a safe place such as a box or bank locker. Make sure that no one other than you and your executor knows where the will is kept. Do not forget to have several copies of your will with you in case the original is misplaced.
Types and Formats of Wills
Handwritten or Holographic Wills
Although it is preferred by most courts that a typed will should be made by an individual in his life. However, in some cases, handwritten wills are also accepted although they are not usually drafted on a standard pattern.
While writing a handwritten will, the testator (person who writes a will) must ensure that he writes it in blue ink so that the original can be distinguished from photocopies.
A codicil is an addition to a will. People add codicils to their wills when they want to make any amendments or additions in their previous decisions. Codicil saves the testator from writing a completely new will once again. It is also signed and witnessed like the original will.
Statutory wills are those which are based on standard terms and phrases as per the court of law to simplify the process. This type of will comes in printed form on which the testator is required to fill in checks and blanks.
Oral Wills are the least authentic of all types of wills and acceptable only in a few regions.
Joint or Mutual Wills
Joint or mutual wills are usually written by married couples and refers to the distribution of mutually owned property. In case of this type of will, if one of the spouses dies, the other is given the right of ownership of all the property.
Sample Will Format /Template
You can download sample free will templates from the list provided below: