1. Some states do not honor handwritten wills, so it is best to type it using a typewriter or computer. The body of the Will should include the following sections:
A. The names of your spouse, children, and anyone else who is to take under the Will. If you are leaving out an adult child you might include a simple statement to the effect, "For reasons known to us both, I specifically exclude Billy Bob from my will, and leave him nothing." can ensure that Billy doesn't later argue you forgot him accidentally.
B. List all your assets, including homes, vehicles, tractors, tools, jewelry, family antiques, and any other household items that will go specifically to someone you choose. If you own a home or bank account as joint tenants with right of survivorship, the property passes automatically to the other person if they are still alive at the time of your death.
C. List who is to act as "Personal Representative, and an alternate.
After you have listed what you have and who you want it to go to, then it is time to get your Will properly witnessed and signed.
A Will must be properly signed (executed) in order to be legal and valid. The process of signing a Will is not difficult. Basically, a Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses (three in Vermont).
You do not have to have the Will notarized, but the Will becomes self-authenticating if the signatures of the signee and witnesses are notarized. This means a notary looked at your identification and can swear you were the person who signed your Will, and that the witnesses were also real persons.
The best place to have your Will witnessed and notarized is at your bank. Call in advance to make sure they have sufficient witnesses and a notary on hand. Do not sign the Will until you are there. The witnesses must witness you signing your Will. Your witnesses should not stand to inherit from the Will.
Once the Will is signed, keep the original in a safe place. Make a copy and keep it with your important papers with a notation where the original is kept.
Be sure to update your Will if you remarry, if a spouse dies, or if you have any changes you want to make.
If you marry or get divorced, your Will be automatically be "changed" by the state. Any time you have changes to the composition of your family, you should re-look at your Will and make new decisions about the disposition of your estate based on the new realities.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.