Do you want to write your own will, or have an idea of how it works before going into estate planning? Choose among state-specific and generic free-to-use sample legal wills, contributed by estate attorneys, state governments, and legal associations.

You can fill out and customize your will on Docracy, print it out and have it witnessed in accordance with your state’s requirements, and you will have a legally-valid will.

Requirements for legally-valid wills vary slightly across states. Each of the statutory wills that Docracy hosts was drafted by its state government with its respective legal requirements in mind. Docracy hosts all of the statutory wills available in the United States:


For all other states, you can use the Basic Will. This is a sample will provided by the American Bar Association that can be customized to satisfy any state’s legal requirements. You should keep in mind the more important differences in state requirements when picking a will form, such as the minimum age for creating a will, the number of witnesses required for the document to be valid (witnesses should be non-interested parties, in some cases they cannot be listed as beneficiaries in the will), and whether or not a self-proving affidavit is allowed.
The following chart sets out the requirements in those categories among the different states:

Minimum Age

Number of Witnesses

Self-Proving Affidavit Allowed?

14

GA

3

NH, VT

No

WA, LA, MS, TN, WV, OH, MD, DC, VT

16

LA

2

All other states

Yes

All other states

18

All other states



What to do after you fill out a will?
While e-signatures are valid, only a few states have case history on the topic. You can always do things the old-fashioned way: print it out, and have it signed by the number of witnesses required in your state. Voilà, your will is legally valid. If your state allows it, you and your witnesses can fill out the self-proving affidavit at the bottom and appear before a notary to get the affidavit notarized.

A self-proving affidavit allows your will to go through probate without the witnesses appearing in court to testify that you in fact wrote the will. The affadavit is not mandatory, but can speed up the probate process, especially when witnesses cannot be located or have since passed away.

It’s strongly recommended that you discuss your will with an estate attorney, as personal situations vary widely, and in particular if you own a business, if your estate exceeds $1 million, or if you anticipate a challenge to the will from a disgruntled relative or anyone else.

Do you know any other good resources on last wills? Make a suggestion in the comments or ask a question!