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Making a Last Will and Testament
A Last Will and Testament (a "Will") is a legal document that sets forth your preferences regarding asset distribution after death, such as who will inherit your personal belongings, your money, or your home.
The person making a Will is known as the "testator," while the individual or organization appointed to oversee the testator's estate after death is called the "executor." Each Will from Rocket Lawyer can be fully personalized for your unique circumstances. As a result of having this essential document, your executor(s) will have a point of reference for your decisions.
It's very easy to set forth your wishes with a free Last Will and Testament template from Rocket Lawyer:
This method, in most cases, will end up being notably less expensive and less time-consuming than meeting and hiring your average attorney. If needed, you may fill out this Last Will and Testament on behalf of a relative, and then help them sign once you've drafted it. Please keep in mind that for this document to be accepted as legally valid, the testator must be an adult who is mentally competent at the time of signing. If the testator has already been declared legally incompetent, a conservatorship could be required. When dealing with such a situation, it would be a good idea for you to connect with a lawyer.
Every person over 18 should have a Last Will and Testament in place. While it is difficult to think about, your loved ones will want to know your wishes for guardianship (when applicable), your property, and/or assets when you pass away. Here are a few typical occasions in which it may be helpful to make or update your Will:
Regardless of whether this Last Will and Testament has been created in response to a change in your life or as part of a forward-looking plan, witnesses and notarization are highly encouraged for protecting your document if its validity is questioned.
Writing a Will is generally simple; however, you or your executor could still have questions. The answer will vary depending on whom you approach, but quite often, some lawyers may not even agree to review your document if they weren't the person who worked on it. An easier approach to consider is to go through the On Call network. When you sign up for a Premium membership, you have the ability to ask for advice from an attorney with relevant experience or pose other legal questions about your Will. We're here to support you.
The cost of working with your average legal provider to write a Last Will and Testament might range between two hundred and one thousand dollars, depending on where you are located. Different from many other websites that you may stumble upon, Rocket Lawyer offers more than a Last Will and Testament template. If you ever require assistance from a lawyer, your Rocket Lawyer membership provides up to a 40% discount when you hire an On Call attorney.
When you're done completing this Last Will with the help of Rocket Lawyer, you can open it on any device, anytime. You may also take any of these actions related to your document: making edits, printing it, or signing it. Each Will has a list of tips for what is next after your document is completed. Even if you decide to make copies, be sure to keep your original signed document in a safe location. It is critical that someone knows where it can be found after your passing.
The requirements will vary by state; however, it is strongly recommended to have your Will signed by two disinterested witnesses and notarized to reinforce the credibility of the document.
A Will does not have to be filed with the county until the testator passes away. Filing the document (alongside any specific forms required by the county) initiates the probate process.
Both a Last Will and Testament and a Living Trust possess advantages and disadvantages, although the one you choose will depend on your goals and where you are in your life. To determine whether to use a will or a trust, you must understand the key differences between these two estate planning devices.
Generally, neither one is "better" than the other. It simply depends on your specific preferences and circumstances. You can also make both to accommodate separate needs.
A will can be considered invalid by your state for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:
Most states typically require that the person making the will is mentally competent during the time of creation. The competency standard can be met in many states if you possess an understanding of the following:
In other states, there is additional guidance around mental illness. For example, in California, an individual with hallucinations or delusions resulting from a mental illness may not be considered to have the capacity to make a valid will, if their decision-making with regard to the will and the distribution of their property is impacted. If you have questions about making a legally valid will, talk to a lawyer.
To avoid confusion and ensure that the most recent will is followed, it is important to destroy every copy of any previous, outdated will. That said, it is possible to have multiple valid wills for dealing with property in multiple states, if one will is a supplement to another, or for other limited reasons.
Many states require that a will be witnessed by at least two people over the age of 18. Witnesses will observe the signing of the will and confirm mental competence at the time of the signing.
If you need more guidance before getting started on your Last Will and Testament, ask a lawyer or check out more estate planning documents.
Yes. Simply select your state from the menu above, or choose a specific state from the list below:
Last reviewed or updated 09/28/2021