Do-It-Yourself: a Will for Free

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    • 1). Provide your name, address and a statement that you are of sound mind and that the document is your last will and testament.

    • 2). Name an executor. An executor administers the will according to your instructions. State requirements regarding executors vary, but the person must be at least age 18. An executor should be honest, trustworthy and conscientious because the executor will manage your estate. The executor will pay debts and taxes, manage assets and distribute property. Common choices include a close friend or a family member. Before selecting an executor, talk to the individual you wish to appoint to ensure that he is willing to serve as your representative.

    • 3). Name an alternative executor. This executor will serve as the executor of your estate if your first choice is unable to serve.

    • 4). Divide your estate among your beneficiaries. Your will should name the beneficiary and the property the person will inherit. The disposition must be specific enough to identify the property. For example, a specific disposition may state, "I give Sally Smith my 2005 Honda Civic." If you divide property by percentages, the entire disposition should add up to 100 percent.

    • 5). Name a guardian if you have a child under age 18. A guardian will care for your child upon your death. The guardian will have legal custody of your child, which means that the guardian will make decisions regarding where the child will live and attend school, and has the right to make medical decisions.

    • 6). Name an alternative guardian for your minor child. The alternative will serve as guardian if your first choice is unable to serve.

    • 7). Name a property custodian to manage the property your minor child will inherit. The custodian does not have to be the same person as the guardian. The custodian will manage the assets your child inherits.

    • 8). Sign your will. In most states, two witnesses must see you sign your will. The witnesses must be at least 18 years old or older and must not be beneficiaries in the will.

    • 9). Store your will in a safe place. Notify the executor of where your will is located.

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