The American Bar Association suggests that there is no fixed formula when it comes to writing a will. However, there are some words and phrases that can notify the probate court that you have included particular required elements in your will. It is crucial that you know how to word a last will and testament so that you will remember to include all the important information in your will. This article will give a step-by-step guide for you to word your last will.
Start with a statement that establishes the document as your last will and testament. The typical format is this: “This is the last will and testament of (your name).” This is followed by your full address. Also, you may want to include the date by starting with "Today's date is (the date/month/year).”
The next step is to name your executor. You can start a paragraph with “I name (your executor’s name) to be my executor.” If you want to also name an alternate executor, follow this sentence with another which states that you wish your alternate executor to step up when your executor is unable to. As your executor is the one who will be distributing your assets and paying your debts after you pass, make sure that you pick someone you can completely trust.
Grant your executor the power to clear your debts and distribute your assets by writing a statement. This can be fairly simple. For example, the will of Leonard Calvert, first governor of Maryland, instructed his executor to “take all and pay all.”
One of the most important parts of your will is the name of your beneficiaries or the people you wish to leave part or all of your assets with. Make sure that you name each person as specifically as possible by using the full name, address, and relationship to you so that there won’t be any confusion. This is particularly important if some of your beneficiaries share the same first name.
Be sure to include a residuary clause, which ensures that any property that you have not specifically mentioned will be covered by your will and can be distributed to the individual you want to have it. According to USLegal.com, a residuary clause may read: "I will, devise, bequeath and give all the rest and remainder of my property and estate of every kind and character, including, but not limited to, real and personal property in which I may have an interest at the date of my death and which is not otherwise effectively disposed of, to (the name of the person to receive any residuary assets)."
The final step is to sign and date your will in the presence of at least two witnesses. They should watch you sign your name and write the date, including the day, month, and year. Then, each witness can sign and date the will underneath your signature. Each witness must type in or write a sentence declaring that they know who you are and that they have watched you sign your will. In some states, it may be required for a will to be notarized. Therefore, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced attorney to see whether or not you need a notary present when you and your witnesses sign the will.Get Your Free Will Kit Today