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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... Read more

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Making a Last Will and Testament

  • What is 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.

  • How do I write a Will online for free?

    It's very easy to set forth your wishes with a free Last Will and Testament template from Rocket Lawyer:

    1. Make your Will - Answer a few questions, and we will do the rest
    2. Send or share - Review the document with a lawyer, if needed
    3. Sign it - Mandatory or not, having two disinterested witnesses is a best practice

    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.

  • Why should I make a Will?

    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:

    • You have a new biological or adopted child
    • You are newly married or divorced
    • You own a home or other property
    • You are aging or dealing with ongoing health issues

    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.

  • Should I work with an attorney for my Will?

    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.

  • What would I typically have to pay to make a Will?

    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.

  • What should I do after writing my Last Will and Testament?

    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.

  • Does a Last Will and Testament need to be notarized or witnessed?

    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.

  • Does a Last Will and Testament need to be filed?

    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.

  • Which is better, a will or a trust?

    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.

    A will:

    • Does not take effect until you die
    • Covers any property that is only in your name when you die
    • Allows you to name a guardian for children and to specify funeral arrangements
    • Passes through probate
    • Is public record and any transactions are also public record

    A trust:

    • Takes effect once created -- if you fall ill or become incapacitated your trustee can control your estate
    • Only covers property that has been transferred into the trust
    • Passes outside of probate, saving time and costs of probate
    • Can be used to plan for disability or to provide savings on taxes
    • Has an added benefit of privacy, as trusts are not public record

    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.

  • What makes a will invalid?

    A will can be considered invalid by your state for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:

    Mental incompetence

    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:

    • The property you own
    • Who your relatives are
    • What the will says and means
    • Your relationship with the beneficiaries you have designated

    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.

    Previous wills

    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.

    Improper witnesses

    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.

  • Is this Last Will and Testament specific to the laws in my state?

    Yes, this Last Will and Testament conforms to state laws and requirements. Using our state-specific legal document builder, Rocket Lawyer can help you make a Last Will and Testament that follows the laws in your state and is specific to your situation. All you need to do is answer a series of plain-language questions and sign.

    Find the laws that affect Last Wills in your state in the list below:

    Alabama laws: Ala. Code §§ 43-8-1(34), 43-8-131, 43-8-135 | Alaska laws: As. Code §§ 13.12.502, 13.06.068 | Arizona laws: A.R.S § 14-2503, 14-2502, 14-2506, 14-2513 | Arkansas laws: Ark. Code § 28-25-103 | California laws: CA Prob Code §§ 88, 6110-6113 | Colorado laws: C.R.S 15-10-201(59), 15-11-502, 15-11-503, 15-11-506, 15-11-513 | Connecticut laws: Conn. Chapter 802a Sect. 45a-250 to 267 | Delaware laws: 12 Del. Law c. 2 § 201-214 | District of Columbia laws: D.C. Law 1-75 §§ 18-102 and 18-103 | Florida laws: F.S. §§ 731.201, 732.502 | Georgia laws: O.C.G.A. §§ 53-1-2(17), 53-4-20 | Hawaii laws: H.R.S 560:1-201, 560:2-502, 560:2-503, 560:2-506, 560:2-513 | Idaho laws: Idaho Code §§ 15-1-201(56), 15-2-501, 15-2-502, 15-2-503 | Illinois laws: 755 ILCS § 5/4-3, 5/1-2.18 | Indiana laws: Ind. Code §§ 29-1-1-3(27) and 29-1-5-3 | Iowa laws: Iowa Code §§ 633.3(43), 633.279 | Kansas laws: K.S.A. 59-606 and 59-608 | Kentucky laws: K.R.S 394.040 | Louisiana laws: Louisiana Civil Code, Articles 1577 -1582.1. | Maine laws: M.R.S 18-C § 2-502 | Maryland laws: Md. Code, Est. & Trusts § 4-102 | Massachusetts laws: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. § 2-502. | Michigan laws: M.C.L 700.2502, 700.2503 | Minnesota laws: MN Stat. § 524.2-502 | Mississippi laws: Miss. Code § 91-5-1 | Missouri laws: R.S.Mo 474.320 | Montana laws: Montana Code Annotated 72-2-522. | Nebraska laws: NE Code § 30-2327 | Nevada laws: NRS §§ 133.300, 133.310, 133.320, 133.330, 133.340 | New Hampshire laws: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 551:2 | New Jersey laws: N.J. Stat. § 3B:3-2 | New Mexico laws: N.M. Stat § 45-2-502 | New York laws: N.Y Code § 3-2.1 | North Carolina laws: N.C.G.S § 31-3.3 | North Dakota laws: N.D. Cent. Code §§ 30.1-08-01 (2-501), 30.1-08-02 (2-502), 30.1-08-03 (2-503), 30.1-08-04 (2-504) | Ohio laws: O.R.C § 2107.03 | Oklahoma laws: 84 OK Stat § 84-55 | Oregon laws: ORS §§112.235,112.238 | Pennsylvania laws: Pennsylvania Code § Title 20 2502 | Rhode Island laws: R.I. Gen. Laws § 33-5-5 | South Carolina laws: SC Code § 62-2-502, 62-2-512, 62-2-505 (2013) | South Dakota laws: SL 1995, ch 167, § 2-502 | Tennessee laws: TN Code §§ 32-1-101, 32-1-104 | Texas laws: Texas Estate Code §§ 251.051, 251.052, 251.001, 251.002 | Utah laws: Utah Code § 75-2-502 | Vermont laws: 14 V.S.A. § 5 | Virginia laws: Code of Virginia § 64.2-403 | Washington laws: RCW 11.12.020 | West Virginia laws: W.V. Code §41-1-3 | Wisconsin laws: Wisconsin Probate Code § 853.03 | Wyoming laws: Wyo. Stat. § 2-6-112

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