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Use our easy step-by-step process to quickly create, print, and sign your will. Do all of this from the comfort of home. It’s fast and easy! If you get stuck along the way, FindLaw has a directory of attorneys that you can contact to assist you.
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Make your last wishes known in a last will and testament customized to the laws of your state. Our do-it-yourself Form Builder makes the process inexpensive and easy.
Last Will and Testament
For One Person
A do-it-yourself last will that’s easy to personalize.
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All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan.
Why You Need a Last Will and Testament
Making a will is the single most important thing you can do to make sure your loved ones are protected. A will allows you to control what happens to your property and children in the event of your death. When you draft your will, you decide. Not the courts.
Decide How to Distribute Your Property and Assets
Save your heirs significant expenses and hassle — and help prevent arguments among family members.
Appoint a Guardian for Your Loved ones
Decide who will be the guardian of your minor children and pets. The decision stays in your hands — not the state’s.
Choose Who Will Oversee Handling Your Estate
Get peace of mind for the future. Choose someone you trust to manage your estate for your beneficiaries.
What To Expect
Create your will using our Form Builder in under an hour. Here’s how it works:
Answer Key Questions
In order to get started, you will need a list of your assets, contact information for important people, and your wishes for the future.
Create an Account
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We Create Your Document
We’ve done the hard part by researching and developing your state-specific form. You simply need to follow our clear process.
Print, Sign & Make It Legal
Print and sign your documents according to the instructions. This may include signing in front of witnesses or a notary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wills
Estate planning laws vary and each state has different requirements for creating a will. Click on your state to find out more.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina – Coming Soon
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington – Coming Soon
- West Virginia
Legal requirements vary among states, but generally, all wills require the following to be considered valid:
- Age: You usually must be at least 18 years of age. In some states, legally emancipated minors, married people under age 18, and underage military service members are allowed to draft enforceable wills.
- Testamentary intent: The document must clearly state that it is a will. A letter simply telling your best friend you want to give them your car is not a will. You would need to include language in the letter like “This is my last will and testament” to show testamentary intent. You would also need to follow all requirements to create a valid will.
- Mental capacity: The person writing the will (the “testator”) must be of sound mind to draft an enforceable will. “Sound mind” means you are aware that you are preparing a will, know what property you have, who your natural beneficiaries are and of the will’s consequences. This standard is relatively loose. Even those who have mental illness, dementia, or Alzheimer’s have mental capacity to draft an enforceable will if they are lucid when they sign it.
- Signature: You must sign the will and do so without coercion and duress. If you are physically unable to sign, either make a mark (“X” is a signature) or instruct someone else to sign for you. However, that individual usually cannot serve as a witness.
- Witnesses: Depending on your state, you may need two or three people to witness you signing your will. Do note, however, that in many states, a witness cannot be a beneficiary of your will. If your state adds a witness affidavit to its will form, you need a notary public to make it official.
You can use your will to provide for the distribution of your real property and personal property. Real property refers to real estate. This includes your home, vacation homes, and land. Personal property covers all your other personal possessions. Your vehicles, valuables, accounts, and heirlooms are all personal property.
You should be aware that some of your assets, like insurance policies, trusts, and jointly owned property may be non-probate assets. These types of assets pass directly to the named beneficiary or joint owner. You cannot change these designations through your will.
Many people need a “simple” will that merely designates guardians for children, distributes their possessions, and appoints someone (an “executor”) to carry out their wishes.
Our do-it-yourself last will and testament forms are already attorney-developed, tailored to your state’s laws, and with your answers, they are customized to your needs. They cost only $59 with no additional fees. Once you download your personalized will form, you and your witnesses just need to sign it according to the instructions and applicable state law to make it legally valid.
FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. If you would like in-person legal advice or if you have a more complicated situation, you may need additional legal help to complete your will. For example, you should seek the help of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer if you:
- Have a high-value estate
- Own a business
- Have conflict in your family which may cause a will contest
- Want to create special needs trusts for adult dependents or minor children
- Have a past divorce, a blended family, or children from previous relationships
- Wish to delay payments to your children until certain conditions are met or they reach a certain age
If you die without a valid will in place, this is called intestacy, or dying intestate. There are intestacy laws in all states that specify how to divide up an estate when there is no will. Those laws (“intestacy statutes”) may or may not reflect your preferences. Intestacy statutes tend to favor spouses and children as heirs.
Your state’s default intestacy laws do not adequately substitute for a will under many situations. These situations may include:
- You have strong opinions regarding guardians for your minor children
- You wish to create a pet trust or other guardianship plan for your animals
- You want to pass property to friends, roommates, or partners
- You have a partner and are not married (the intestacy statutes generally do not include unmarried partners as heirs)
- You want to give money and assets to charitable organizations instead of family members
- You face family conflict that may cause unfair administration of your estate
If any of the above scenarios applies to you, or if you just want to make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, you should create a personalized will.
You should avoid handwriting or videotaping your will if possible. A handwritten will can be difficult for a probate court to interpret. It can be easier to contest too, which could delay the distribution of your assets. Further, most states do not accept videotaped wills or spoken wills.
Although handwritten wills are not advisable, they can be valid and legally enforceable in about half of the states. A completely handwritten, unwitnessed will is called a holographic will. A holographic will must be entirely handwritten and signed. In some states, there must also be a handwritten date for a holographic will to be legally valid. States may have further requirements for holographic wills too. For instance, they may require that a holographic will was kept among important documents. Due to varying state laws and difficulty of interpreting handwriting, a holographic will should only be used as a last resort.
Wills communicated by voice or video recording are acceptable in very few states. Most states require written wills. States that consider video or spoken wills valid only do so under specific circumstances. For example, when the testator faces imminent death (soldiers on active duty, victims of a terrorist attack, etc.), any testamentary intent recorded at the time can be enforceable. This is usually called a nuncupative will. In any other circumstance, you should only use a video or audio recording as an extension of a written will to show state of mind and offer personalized messages.
A will is a legal document that describes how you would like your property to be distributed after you die. You can use a will to name guardians for children or pets, and to specify who you choose to receive your property.
With trusts, your beneficiaries do not receive their entire inheritance at once. Instead, you choose someone (a trustee) to manage your property in the best interests of your chosen beneficiaries. A living trust is a trust you make while you are alive. A testamentary trust, on the other hand, is a trust you create in your will. It is only effective after you die. With both types of trusts, your trustee will distribute the trust funds to your beneficiaries according to your instructions. Creating a special needs trust is an effective way to provide for a disabled loved one who will need ongoing care. If you would like to distribute payments on a timeframe (once a month, when a child reaches age 23, etc.), your trust can be designed for that purpose.
A will is the cornerstone of a good estate plan. But there are other estate planning tools to consider too, including trusts. These additional documents help you to make advance healthcare decisions, avoid probate, and name people to make decisions for you if necessary
Most lawyers do not recommend joint wills (one will for two individuals). Some states do not allow them, and even in those that do there are several disadvantages to joint wills. For example, a surviving spouse may not be able to change or revoke a will and assets may be tied up for years. This can cause significant problems should circumstances change for the surviving spouse.
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