Tips for Drafting a Will

Drafting a WillA will is a legal document that is not effective unless properly prepared and executed. Individuals should not undertake to execute a will unless they are knowledgeable about the requirements of a legally enforceable will or have had the opportunity to consult legal counsel. The process of executing a will can be simple, but certain items should be kept in mind while going through the process.

  1. All wills should state what a testator wants done with his or her remains and whether the testator wishes a funeral and/or burial.
  2. All beneficiaries must be specifically named and amounts of bequests specified.
  3. Alternative beneficiaries should also be named in the event a designated beneficiary dies before the testator. If money or assets remain in the testator’s estate, an individual should be named to receive the remainder in specific dollar amounts or percentages.
  4. If a trust is established in the will, a trustee and an alternate trustee must be designated.
  5. All wills must designate an executor and an alternative executor who will carry out the instructions of the testator set forth in the will.
  6. If there are children, appoint a guardian and alternative guardian for any children under 18 years of age.
  7. A will should also provide that an executor, guardians and trustees will serve without bond.
  8. All wills and codicils should have a self-proving clause and signed and witnessed by 2 witnesses (who are over 18 and competent). All of them must sign before a notary.

Remember: The above list is NOT an exhaustive list of all of the “in’s” and “out’s” of drafting a will. It is often wise to consult an attorney before doing so.