It is expensive to have a will drawn up for you. The only time this is essential is if you have extensive property and your wishes for this property are complex.
If is important to first find out if handwritten wills are legal in the state in which you live. Handwritten wills are also called holographic wills and they are legal in about half the states. Similarly, in Canada, about half the provinces allow them. Some law offices will give you this information free, and some won’t.
It is important to have your own will if you have any possessions at all. Even if you have only items of sentimental value, you probably would like to see them go to specific individuals. Wills leave you in control whereas, if you do not have a will, you are leaving the state in control.
The first requirement of a holographic will is that is be handwritten. That means completely handwritten, every single word from start to finish. If you make a mistake, cross it out and initial the change. No typing, printing, or anything else will do. You cannot dictate your will to someone else to write. If someone wishes to contest you will, then the validity of the handwriting must be beyond question.
You must also be of sound mind. This is not usually and issue, but if you think it could be, it would perhaps be wise to pay a lawyer to make your will.
Clearly indicate the names of those you wish to be your heirs. Write the names out in full (no nicknames), and also stipulate the relationship between you and this person.
Be specific in your wishes. Write clearly and concisely and avoid rambling. If you have items in you home that you wish to allocate to certain individuals, you may wish to label these, or take pictures.
You must also specify and executor, the person you wish to carry out the terms of your will. Ask this person ahead of time if they are willing to do this for you. Try to choose someone who is not likely to predecease you.
Sign your will, date it, and have the signature witnessed. You will need two witnesses.
Choose two mature people to be witnesses. These two people must both be present together, so choose carefully. It is not important whether these people know you or not, but they must not be heirs. In a real estate office you can probably find two agents willing to help. They must write their name, print them below for legibility and then include their address and some proof of identification. Their names should appear below yours, along with the date of signing. These witnesses must be of legal age.
Keep you will in a safe place. Make a copy.
Before you consider making a handwritten will, find out if they are legal in your state. If they are, make sure you understand the specific requirements of your state.