Online Printable Last Will & Testament Forms
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Free Online Last Will & Testament Documents & Templates
Any person over the age of majority (an adult) can draft their own last will and testament without the aid of an attorney. This free last will and testament template is in fill in the blank format and can be used in any state. In common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the testator) regulates the rights of others over his or her property or family after death. In the strictest sense, a "will" is a general term, while "testament" applies only to dispositions of personal property (this distinction is seldom observed). A will is also used as the instrument in a trust.
Requirements for the creation of a will:
Any person over the age of majority (an adult) can draft their own will without the aid of an attorney. Additional requirements may vary, depending on the jurisdiction, but every will must contain the following:
1.) The testator must clearly identify himself or herself as the maker of the will, and that a will is being made; this is commonly called "publication" of the will, and is typically satisfied by the words "last will and testament" on the face of the document.
2.) The testator must declare that he or she revokes all previously-made wills and codicils. Otherwise, a subsequently-made will revokes earlier wills and codicils only to the extent that they are inconsistent. However, if a subsequent will is completely inconsistent with an earlier one, that earlier will be considered completely revoked by implication.
3.) The testator must demonstrate that he or she has the capacity to dispose of his or her property, and does so freely and willingly.
4.) The testator must sign and date the will, usually in the presence of at least two disinterested witnesses (persons who are not beneficiaries). In some jurisdictions, for example, Kentucky Revised Statutes § 394.210(2) (2006). the spouse of a beneficiary is also considered an interested witness. In the USA, Pennsylvania is the only state which does not require the signing of the will to be witnessed.
5.) The testator's signature must be placed at the end of the will. If this is not observed, any text following the signature will be ignored, or the entire will may be invalidated if what comes after the signature is so material that ignoring it would defeat the testator's intentions.
After the testator has died, a probate proceeding may be initiated in court to determine the validity of the will or wills that the testator may have created, i.e., which will satisfied the legal requirements, and to appoint an executor. If the will is ruled invalid in probate, then inheritance will occur under the laws of intestacy as if a will were never drafted.
There is no legal requirement that a will be drawn up by a lawyer, although there are pitfalls into which home-made wills can fall. The person who makes a will is not available to explain him or herself, or to correct any technical deficiency or error in expression, when it comes into effect on that person's death, and so there is little room for mistake. A common error (for example) in the execution of home-made wills in England is to use a beneficiary (typically a spouse or other close family members) as a witness -- although this has the effect in law of disinheriting the witness regardless of the provisions of the will.
Some states recognize a holographic will, made out entirely in the testator's own hand. A minority of states even recognize the validity of nuncupative wills, which are expressed orally. In England, the formalities of wills are relaxed for soldiers who express their wishes on active service.
A will may not include a requirement that an heir commit an illegal, immoral, or other act against public policy as a condition of receipt. In community property jurisdictions, a will cannot be used to disinherit a surviving spouse, who is entitled to at least a portion of the testator's estate. In England, a will may disinherit a spouse, but close relations excluded from a will (including but not limited to spouses) may apply to the court for provision to be made for them at the court's discretion.
It is a good idea that the testator give his executor the power to pay debts, taxes, and administration expenses (probate, etc.). Warren Burger's will did not contain this, which wound up costing his estate thousands. This is not a consideration in English law, which provides that all such expenses will fall on the estate in any case.
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This web site is designed to give you general information. The information on this web site is in no way intended to be legal advice. Legal advice can only be obtained by a licensed attorney who has the appropriate legal skills and knowledge related to your specific circumstances.
E. Emerson - I downloaded the last will and testament template kit here and was able to draft and modify my last will. I did this to make sure my last wishes would be carried out and my family would be protected. Thank you.
D. McKesson - I was able to draft my own last will and testament using the template I downloaded from free-documents.com. It was easy to modify and legal in my state. Thank you.
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Last Will and Testament Basics.
A Last Will and Testament allows you to communicate your wishes and make things easier for the people you care about. Creating a Last Will and Testament as a part of your estate plan will ensure all you leave behind—including the care of your children—will be taken care of according to your wishes. Use a Last Will and Testament if: You'd like your property, including Digital Assets, distributed according to your wishes after your death. You'd like to list the people or organizations that will receive your property after your death. You'd like to list the person or group who will carry out the terms of the Last Will. You'd like to name who's responsible for minor children if their other parent is unable to take care of them. Note: If the value of what you own is going to be larger than the federal estate tax exemption amount, currently $5,340,000, it's a good idea to get an attorney. Digital assets: A last will and testament can help you pass along many computer and Internet-related property, including online accounts or digital files. Other examples of digital assets include email accounts, blogs, social-networking websites, online backup services, photo and document sharing websites, business accounts, domain names, virtual property and computer files. Other names for a Last Will and Testament: Last Will, Will and Testament, Will How to write a Last Will and Testament: Writing a last will doesn't have to be complicated or difficult. In fact, a last will is simply a written way for you to state your desires for what happens to your property and children after your death and avoid any confusion or familial disputes. Our online interview helps you write your last will simply and easily—all you have to do is answer questions about your situation and wishes, and your answers are used to complete your personalized will. Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when you write your will: Choose Beneficiaries When you're writing your last will, you'll first need to designate your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the people that will receive your property. These are normally your spouse, children, other relatives, and close friends. You can also make any special bequests regarding any digital assets you own. You'll indicate who will receive your estate and specified possessions. Appoint an Executor Choosing an executor is an important part of writing your last will. Your executor will carry out your wishes concerning the legal and financial matters of your estate. With that kind of power, it's a good idea to pick someone who is good with numbers and organized. It's probably better to look for those qualities rather than the person who is closest to you. We have a more detailed article about how to appoint a will executor, with information about multiple executors, the type of person you should look for, and some other important factors you should keep in mind. Pick a Guardian for Your Children You'll also want to make sure your children are taken care of when writing your Will, which means picking a guardian. In most cases, your spouse will receive most of your assets and will provide financially for your children, but you may want to separate the provisions for your children, in case something were to happen to your spouse. Sign Your Will with Witnesses In order for your last will to be valid, it must be signed, and you must be of legal age and mentally competent. You also need witnesses' signatures attesting that you knew what you were signing. Restrictions on who can witness a will—as well as if it will need to be notarized—vary across the country, so be sure to check with your state. What to do once you've written your Will Put Your Will in a Safe Place Having a last will won't do you much good if no one can find it. Make sure you keep yours in a secure place, generally at home in a safe or in a jointly-owned safe deposit box. It's also a great idea to create a couple copies and give them to people you trust, such as your children, spouse, and estate planning attorney. Finish Your Estate Plan Remember, a last will is part of your estate plan, not the whole thing. It's important to create a power of attorney, a living will, and a living trust(s) for your loved ones. You can read more about creating a comprehensive estate plan in our "Wills v. Estate Plan" article. Certain important decisions—like who can make end of life decisions for you—cannot be included in your will. Review and Amend Your Will If you have a new granddaughter or purchase a car you know your son your son would like, you don't have to redo your entire last will. That's what codicils are for. Codicils allow you to make legal changes to your existing will like the ones we mentioned above. It's especially important to do this after big life changes, like a marriage, a divorce, or the birth of a child. And of course, make sure you keep your codicils with your will.