Essential Items to Include in a Will

Wills are legal documents that outline what happens to all your possessions in the event of your death. Not having a will means those decisions are made by a court. A will ensures you can determine who gets an inheritance as well as who will be the executor of your estate.

State laws may set out requirements for the will which need to be followed. This is why having an experienced attorney help you create one is important. Below are some of the items you should include.

Personal Information

Basic information about yourself must be in the will. This includes your entire name, address, and birthdate. If you go by other aliases, include those too. It’s also useful to name your spouse and family members as well as what relationship you have with each of them.


Testamentary intent must be written in special legal language to state the will is what it is. Something like “This is my last will and testament” can be used but another verbiage is also fine as long as it shows that you intend to pass on the property after death. This sentence of intent is required for a will to be valid.

Beneficiaries and Assets

A large portion of the will is related to what assets are to be directed to who. Real estate, high-value assets, money, and belongings can all be included. The people receiving those things, beneficiaries, can be friends, family members, trusts, businesses, or charities.

Other Information

A will can be used to appoint an executor. This person is who will carry out the requests stated in your will. If nobody is named, someone will need to apply to be a representative or the court will choose someone.

For those with minor children, a guardian can be named for them if you and the other parent are both deceased. Guardians can also be named in some instances for others who are dependents, like senior parents or adult children with disabilities.

Beyond that, the will needs to have your signature and that of two witnesses. Adding a notarized self-proving affidavit is also useful when allowed by the state.

Since wills are legal documents, a lawyer from Bell & Shah should help you ensure yours meets all requirements. When you speak with our attorneys, make sure you bring up the items above and ensure they make it into the final will. This is the best way to ensure things go where you want them to in the event you die.

Bell & Shah

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