Writing A Last Will And Testament

April 22, 2010

It’s never too early to start thinking about your last will and testament. Most of us have no idea when our last day is going to be, so it is not a bad thing to be prepared.

In Kentucky, it is perfectly acceptable to write your last will and testament by yourself. You don’t need a lawyer to bequeath your possessions (or, if you speak English, leave your stuff) to someone else. There are a few things that one should keep in mind when writing a will, but most of them are fairly obvious.

If you want to write your own will — what is called a holographic will — you can do so by writing the document in your own handwriting. In fact, you must write it by long hand, so that your handwriting is recognizable, and then it must be signed. There must be two witnesses and a notary on hand when you sign your will. None of these witnesses, including the notary, can be beneficiaries.

The language can be simple. You don’t need to use legalese to write your last will and testament. For example, if you are leaving all your possessions to your son, John, you can simply state that is your desired intent. You don’t need to use fancy words to get the point across. If, on the other hand, you want to set up a trust so that John’s unborn children have money for college, you will probably want to consult with an attorney, as that language can be more complex and there are certain laws that you must follow.

As you would expect, we do recommend you consult an attorney to ensure your document complies with local and state ordinances.

Obviously, a last will and testament doesn’t take effect until the person has died, so it is necessary to keep your will in a safe place. You should also let the executor (the person who will carry out your wishes) know where you have put it.

It is not recommended that you keep your will in a safe deposit box, unless you have given permission to another person to open that box. They must be a signer on the safe deposit box and they must have a key. Wherever you store your will, make sure someone you trust knows where it is, in the event of your passing.

Many people avoid creating a last will and testament because it seems so morbid, but the alternative is never better. If you don’t have a will, your possessions and finances will be held in probate until a judge can decide what to do with them. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it is always better if you state your intentions, rather having them decided by a judge who doesn’t know you.

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