Can I Write My Own Will?
Posted on Nov 18, 2013
I am going to let you in on a little known fact. There are two types of Wills, if prepared properly can ensure your estate is distributed as you want and the person you appointed will be in control to manage your estate. One of these Wills does not require you go to an attorney to prepare. It doesn't even require you have witnesses and it can be written on anything! Read on for the details...
It is true there are many available resources out there for you to prepare a Will. However, I must caution you on how you choose which resource to use. I cannot tell you that online Wills are not valid, nor can I tell you Will kits found at stores are no good. What I can tell you is this: if you use one of these resources, while although it will work in some circumstances, it doesn't work in all. The problem I have seen with my clients is by the time your loved ones find out your Will does not accomplish what you intended it is too late. This will cause possible delay and cost while your loved one goes through the probate process. Furthermore, it is possible that your assets are not distributed how you intended, nor is the person you thought you were appointing in control to manage and distribute your estate.
Now back to the details...
The first type of Will mentioned above is a formal Will. This is the Will we all know about. It is prepared by a qualified estate planning attorney, and has all of the legal language needed, and is signed with all of the formalities to make it a valid Will. It is your Will and accomplishes everything you intended.
HERE COMES THE LITTLE KNOWN FACT!!
The second type of Will is what we call a HOLOGRAPHIC WILL. What exactly does that mean? You can prepare this Will anywhere. The only requirements are that it is wholly in your handwriting, it is signed by you, and it is dated. It can be written on anything! A piece of paper, the back of a menu, the back of a business card, and the list can go on.
These Wills must have testamentary intent. What does this mean? I suggest you have the words Last Will and Testament on the top of the paper. Although this is not absolutely necessary, it is recommended. It should revoke all previous Wills and Codicils signed by you. It should also fully dispose of all of your property and not just certain items. It should appoint an Independent Executor to serve without bond and without court supervision. (Hint: these are buzz words we recommend). Another word of caution I would give is that although this Holographic Will is completely valid, it is not recommended to be used in every situation.