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Do different states have varying requirements for a Last Will and Testament?

Do different states have varying requirements for a Last Will and Testament?


Jennifer Mcgee


Updated on  

January 25, 2023

3 Minutes


Talking about wills and planning your estate distribution may seem morbid. However, what's even more morbid is imagining your loved ones going through courts and lawyers when they already have to deal with their grief. In some worst-case scenarios, they may not get the estate due to legal troubles, and it could even end up in somebody else's hands. That's why you should have this conversation with your partner and family. Start your estate planning to make your family's and your own life easier if something happens to you.

What is a Last Will and Testament?

The Last Will and Testament are legal documents expressing your wishes after you pass away. It regards these decisions:

  • Mention who gets what from your estate
  • Mention who would be your executor (the person who would oversee the probate process and manage your estate's distribution)
  • Mention who would be your minor children's legal guardian
  • Make decisions about managing your finances for paying bills and managing the money if you become incapacitated. 

Now imagine, if you don't make a will, all these decisions could end up in some stranger's hands. Therefore, making a Last Will and Testament should be on your priority list. 

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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

How to make a Last Will and Testament?

You could make your last will and testament online through a reliable platform. The process has become much easier than the traditional method of looking for lawyers and spending thousands of dollars. Here are some easy steps you could follow to make a simple last will and testament online:

  1. Gather the documents and list down your assets (tangible and intangible)
  2. Enter the information on the online tool and add details about your will. 
  3. You should review the details and check if there are any mistakes. It would help avoid any issues moving forward. 
  4. Complete the process or speak with the experts from the platform about your queries. Download the will, and it's ready!

Requirements for a legal Last Will and Testament in different states 

There are different requirements for different states in the USA to make a legal will. It would help ensure that your will upholds in the court and doesn't face any issues during the probate process. You should follow your state's detailed guidelines to ensure that your last will and testament are valid. Follow the below table to learn more about your state's guidelines. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I write down my wishes and consider them a legal will?

Several states do not allow a self-written will unless you've followed the requirements. It would always be better to create a legal will by following all your state rules.

Do I need to notarize my will?

Different states have varying requirements for Notarization. It's better to read your state rules before finalizing your last will and testament.

Should I update my will?

You should regularly check and update your last will after certain life events. It can be a new marriage, a child, or a divorce. Either way, keep updating your will after some time.

Can an executor or guardian refuse to take up the role?

Yes, your guardian or executor can refuse to take on the job. It is always better to ask the person and get their approval before mentioning them on your will.

Can I leave my spouse or family out of my will?

You can leave all your assets to anyone you want. It can be a stranger or an organization. However, you should consult an expert before finalizing the will to avoid any issues.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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Jennifer Mcgree
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