Can I write my own will? Can you write your own will? Sure you can. You can also build your own house but that doesn’t mean you should. A will is an important legal document that contains your instructions and wishes for handling your estate and distributing the property and assets you own in your own name after you die.
What should a will contain? The names of the people you want to leave your property to, your beneficiaries any special gifts or property you want to leave, such as the vacation house to my son and the boat to my daughter and twenty thousand dollars to my college. The percentage of the remaining assets each beneficiary should receive such as, each of my three children should receive an equal share of my estate or perhaps I’d want to say my sister should receive 10 percent, my son John and daughter Emily should each receive 20 percent, my son Bill 10 percent and the remaining 40 percent should be divided up amongst my grandchildren.
Your will should contain a guardian for the care of your minor children, if the other parent is not available. The will should contain arrangements for the handling of the property that is going to minors or young adults such as holdings in trust so that it can be distributed them when they reach the appropriate age such as 21. The will should contain the name the person you want to handle your estate and distribute the assets that person’s called the executor or personal representative.
Your will should be written carefully to comply with your state’s laws. In order to be valid the will should be in writing, you should sign at the end in front of two or three witnesses who will also sign their names as witnesses. The witnesses should be people who would not benefit as a result of the will. Failing to have the will properly witnessed and being unable to locate the witnesses years later is often a major problem so having witnesses also sign your state’s form of self-proving affidavit is highly recommended.
Your will generally does not control who gets your life insurance money, or your retirement benefits such as an IRA, 401K, those assets go to the beneficiaries you named in the policy or plan. There are many books software packages and online resources and document preparation services that promise to help you prepare a will but a will is more than just a document unless you have a very simple family situation and very few assets the very best homemade or online will is no substitute for the personalized legal advice based on your wishes and needs and a professionally prepared will can help you create an estate plan that will achieve what you want in a tax-efficient manner if something happens to you.