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Free Last Will and Testament Template

Create a Last Will with our simple Will template to be in charge of how your family and possessions are cared for after you pass on. Outline beneficiaries, assets, and important information.

Last Update August 2nd, 2022

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What is a Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and testament is an important legal document that many people write. The purpose of a Last Will and testament is to allow an individual, also known as a testator, to decide who receives their personal property after they pass away 

This means, with a Last Will, you are legally in charge of the distribution of your property after your passing. 

Some alternative names for a Last Will and testament are:

  • Will

  • Last Will

  • Will and testament

  • Final Will

Having a look at a free Will template from LawDistrict gives you a good idea of how to make your own Will. 

A Will helps people have peace of mind in their final days. There will be much less confusion and disagreement over your belongings when the time eventually comes. 

Why Is a Last Will Important

A Will is an essential legal document for a few different reasons. While what happens to your estate and possessions after your death may not seem important now, not signing a Will has some serious consequences. 

So Why Should you Make a Will

A Final Will has key uses that make it essential for anyone interested in passing on and protecting their belongings. 

It gives you and your loved one's peace of mind and security, knowing you have made the decisions for where your belongings go. This leads to fewer arguments over the ownership of your assets and property when you pass on. 

Underage children are also protected when parents sign a Last Will and Testament, as you can assign them a legal guardian

Who Needs a Will 

A Last Will and Testament is an extremely helpful legal document that just about any adult should make

People who fall into these categories are especially in need of a Will: 

  • Parent, with a newborn or adopted child

  • Recently married or divorced

  • Home or property owner

  • Elderly person 

A good question to ask yourself, is what happens if I don’t write a Will? 

Not writing a Will before you die means a court-appointed administrator decides who receives your possessions.  

How to Write a Last Will and Testament

Knowing how to properly fill out a Last Will and Testament form is important. There are essential details and information that must be included. 

Follow these steps to write a Last Will and testament that meets the legal criteria. 

Personal Data of the Testator or Testatrix

A testator, is the person who writes the Will. If it is your Will, then fill in your first name, last name, and the county and state that you live in. This also revokes any Wills and amendments made previously.

Choose Beneficiaries

Include which people or organizations receive your possessions once your debts are settled. Your loved ones or charities are good examples of beneficiaries.

Also, include the name of your beneficiaries and fill in their information. 

  • Children: Include their names

  • Charitable organizations: Include the name, contact information, and tax information

  • Other beneficiaries: Include name, relationship, and the city and state where they live

Plan Your Funeral

Remember to add funeral arrangements, these arrangements can include: 

  • Where the service will be held

  • Cremation or burial and where to store or dispose of ashes

  • Include the name of an agent, if you signed an Advance Health Care Directive, to arrange what happens to your remains. 

Identify Assets

You can then add which specific items are given to which beneficiaries.

  • Gifts at Death: Include the name of the beneficiary and what tangible property they receive

  • Gifts of Real Estate: Include the beneficiary and what the property is. 

  • Gifts of Account and Cash: List account information, the name of the beneficiary and the amount of money that is to be given. 

  • Gift to Charity: List an amount of money to be given to charity, if you choose one. 

  • Residue: Assign your first, second, and third beneficiaries,  if they do not survive longer than you, the possessions you have assigned go to their descendants. 

Appoint an Executor

Next, include the executor. Executors make court appearances,  distribute assets, and perform other duties. Many people choose a spouse or one of their children to be their executor. 

Make sure to fill in your relationship with him or her and nominate an alternate Executor and second alternate Executor. 

Designate Executory Powers

This part lists which power and authority he or she has with respect to your estate. The Executor must still distribute all property and assets to the beneficiaries. 

These powers include: 

  • Retention of property: The property remains in the discretion of the Executor. 

  • Dealing in estate assets: The Executor of a will has the right to sell, lease, exchange property etc.  

  • Borrowing: The Executor has the right to borrow money to administer the estate.

  • Distributions to minor incapacitated beneficiaries: The executor can distribute parts of the assets to a minor or someone that is incapacitated. 

  • Distributions in kind: The Executor can make distributions in money or in kind. 

  • Investing: Can decide to invest or not invest your property. 

  • Delegation and agents: The Executor can employ attorneys, accountants, and other such agents.

  • Payment of debts: The Executor can use the money of the testator to pay off his or her debts.

  • Storing personal property: The Executor is allowed to hold on to the property of a minor or incapacitated to distribute on a specified date. 

  • Closely held businesses: To continue any business that was left by you, the testator. 

  • Digital assets: The Executor has control over digital accounts or assets left by you, the testator.

Governing Law

The state where you reside in is the state that governs your Will. This means you must fill in what state you reside in. 

Find Witnesses and Sign

A Last Will and testament should be signed with 2 disinterested witnesses, whether it is mandatory in your state or not. 

In this part you write the number of pages of the Will, the date and sign. 

Your witnesses sign sworn statements, these include filling in which state and county the Will takes effect in and the witnesses’ names and addresses. 

Finally, if you choose to or if it is required, a Notary Public swears and signs the Will. 

Last Will Laws by State

Different states have different requirements. Most states require 2 witnesses to sign the document. 

In some states, it is necessary to sign with a notary public. 

Have a look at your state law regarding Last Wills and testaments.

State State Law Signing Requirement
Alabama § 43-8-131 Two (2) Witnesses
Alaska § 13.12.502 Two (2) Witnesses
Arizona § 14-2502 Two (2) Witnesses
Arkansas § 28-25-102 Two (2) Witnesses
California § 6110 Two (2) Witnesses
Colorado § 15-11-502 Two (2) Witnesses and a Notary Public
Connecticut § 45a-251 Two (2) Witnesses
Delaware § 201 to 202 Two (2) Witnesses
Florida § 732.502 Two (2) Witnesses
Georgia § 18-103 Two (2) Witnesses
Hawaii § 560:2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Idaho § 15-2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Illinois Section 755 ILCS 5/4-3 Two (2) Witnesses
Indiana § 29-1-5-3 Two (2) Witnesses
Iowa § 633.279 Two (2) Witnesses
Kansas § 59-606 Two (2) Witnesses
Kentucky § 394.040 Two (2) Witnesses
Louisiana § Art. 1577 Two (2) Witnesses and a Notary Public
Maine § 2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Maryland § 4-102 Two (2) Witnesses
Massachusetts § 2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Michigan § 700-2502 Two (2) Witnesses
Minnesota § 524.2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Mississippi § 91-5-1 Two (2) Witnesses
Missouri § 474.320 Two (2) Witnesses
Montana § 72-2-522 Two (2) Witnesses
Nebraska § 30-2327 Two (2) Witnesses
Nevada § 133.040 Two (2) Witnesses
New Hampshire § 551 Two (2) Witnesses
New Jersey § 3B:3-2 Two (2) Witnesses
New Mexico § 45-2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
New York § 3-1.1 Two (2) Witnesses
North Carolina § 31-3.3 Two (2) Witnesses
North Dakota § 30.1-08-02. (2-502) Two (2) Witnesses
Ohio § 2107.03 Two (2) Witnesses
Oklahoma § 84-55 Two (2) Witnesses
Oregon § 112.235 Two (2) Witnesses
Pennsylvania § § 2502 Two (2) Witnesses
Rhode Island § 33-5-5 Two (2) Witnesses
South Carolina § 62-2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
South Dakota § 29A-2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Tennessee § 32-1-104 Two (2) Witnesses
Texas § 251.051 Two (2) Witnesses
Utah § 75-2-502 Two (2) Witnesses
Vermont § 14 V.S.A. § 5 Two (2) Witnesses
Virginia § 64.2-403 Two (2) Witnesses
Washington § 11.12.020 Two (2) Witnesses
Washington D.C. § 18-103 Two (2) Witnesses
West Virginia § 41-1-3 Two (2) Witnesses
Wisconsin § 853.03 Two (2) Witnesses
Wyoming § 2-6-112 Two (2) Witnesses

What Makes a Will Invalid

Unfortunately, in some circumstances, your will could be declared invalid by your state for a few different reasons. 

These include: 

  • Mental incompetence: You can be declared mentally incompetent or incapacitated if you can’t demonstrate that you understand:

    • What property you own, 

    • Who your family members are,

    • What the will states, and what it means,

    • Your relationship with your beneficiaries. 

  • Owning a different Will: If you own any old wills you should destroy them. Nevertheless, it is possible to have more than one if you have wills for different properties in different states. 

  • Improper witnesses: If you have any witnesses under the age of 18 or someone interested in your assets, then the Will can be declared invalid.

How to Amend a Will

If you need to make changes to your Will, it is possible to do so. You can use a “codicil”, which is an amendment to a Last Will and testament. 

If you need to make any changes to your beneficiaries, assets, etc., make sure to attach a codicil to your Last Will. 

A self-proving affidavit is also recommended. This is used to prove you made the changes to the document of your own free will.

Last Will and Testament vs Living Will

Although they have similar titles, a Last Will and a Living Will have very different purposes. 

Both documents do deal with end-of-life issues when you are not able to communicate your preferences anymore. 

Last Will Living Will
Assign someone to distribute your property after death States preferred health care preferences if you cannot communicate.
Assigns legal guardians to take care of underage children States specific treatment for specific circumstances

To put it simply, a Last Will is used to plan for what happens to you and your belongings when you eventually die. 

A Living Will is to let medical staff know if you would like to receive a certain treatment or not, in case you become unable to communicate. 

Last Will and Testament Sample

Even when you know what information to specifically include, it is always a good idea to see a sample document. 

You can use a Last Will and Testament sample from LawDistrict to help you create your own document. 

FAQs About Last Will and Testaments

If you remain uncertain about how to outline your Last Will and testament, keep reading and find the  answers to the most common questions about Last Wills below.

How to Find a Last Will and Testament Online

When people look for legal documents, they often go to a lawyer. This is a sensible option, however, it can be very expensive and time-consuming. 

LawDistrict provides a Last Will and Testament printable template that is very easy to use and understand. Easily create this legal document with our outline. 

Using our template you can cut down on the excessive lawyer fees and save yourself a lot of time. 

What is the Difference Between a Last Will and a Living Trust

Between a Last Will and a Living Trust, there is a key similarity and a few differences

Many people frequently confuse the two documents, which is a massive mistake. There are some important details you need to be aware of.

Both documents are used to determine who receives your possessions after you die. 

However, apart from that detail, there can be some doubts concerning which document is appropriate in which situation.

Check out the table below to clarify any doubts

Last Will Living Trust
A Probate Court is used to supervise your requests after you pass away. A Probate Court does not have jurisdiction.
Allows you to appoint a legal guardian for your child. You are not allowed to appoint a legal guardian.
A court appoints a representative if you don’t create a Durable Power of Attorney There is no conservatorship. Your trustee will be responsible for distributing your property.

Do I Need a Will If I Have Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney and Last Will both help you when you are not able to communicate your desires. 

However, it is essential to understand that you should have both documents.

A Power of Attorney makes decisions for you while you are still alive, but you are not able to communicate. 

The moment you die, thePower of Attorney loses its authority

Using a Last Will and Testament means you have the power to make decisions after you pass away

Using this document will ensure your belongings and assets end up where you want them to. Your executor will be in charge of overseeing your assets until they are distributed. 

Who Can Make a Last Will

A professional who can create a Last Will, is a lawyer. However, if a lawyer makes a Last Will for you, they could charge around $300. Depending on your estate, it could even be around $1,000. 

In almost every circumstance, lawyer fees are costly. You also need to wait until the lawyer is available to make the document. 

With LawDistrict’s legal documents, you can easily make a Last Willon your own. 

Our easy-to-write and legally valid online will not only be a cost-effective option, but it will also save you plenty of time and energy. 

Can a Husband and Wife Make a Joint Will?

Yes, it is possible to make a Joint Will. These types of Wills are created and usually signed by a married couple. 

This document allows 2 or more people to list their assets and beneficiaries together on a single document. 

Joint Wills often state: 

  • All the couple’s property will stay with the remaining spouse after they have passed away.

  • When the remaining spouses passes away, all the possessions will be left to any children they may have. 

It is recommended to make a joint will if you are in complete agreement with your spouse, on how your personal property and belongings will be distributed.

Do I have to File My Will?

You are not explicitly required to file your Will. You only need to keep it in a safe place where it can be found upon your death. 

However, once you pass away, your Executor will be obligated to file the document in the probate court of your county. 

Depending on your state, the executor (or whoever is in possession of the Will) will have a certain amount of days to file the Will after the date of death. 

Failure to file the will could result in a lawsuit by someone else involved in the testament.

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