Thoughts on Writing Your Own WIll

Reader Question: When it comes to making a will, would it suffice to sit down and write it all out on a piece of paper, then have it notarized?

I would never advise someone to write their own will, unless, of course, they’re an attorney in that state. Laws can vary from state to state, and some states may not look upon a document like that as being official under law. Some even require witnesses, and a notary might not be good enough.

If you’re trying to save money by doing it this way, I would strongly urge you to look at involving a lawyer as an investment. In most cases, having a reputable lawyer draw up a legally correct, state-specific will doesn’t cost a lot of money. At the very least, go online to USLegalForms.com. They have all kinds of state-specific legal forms, including wills.

Your last will and testament is one of the most important legal documents you’ll ever be part of. Please don’t try to do this yourself. I’ve run into so many families who, in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, were handed a handwritten piece of paper that wouldn’t hold up in court. That kind of thing just adds more stress to an already heartbreaking situation.

Dave Ramsey

Dave is the author of The New York Times best-selling book Financial Peace. He is also the host of the nationally syndicated The Dave Ramsey Show, and is a regular guest on television. All of his financial counseling is based on biblical truths. You can hear Dave from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., weekdays online at www.daveramsey.com. Send your questions toaskdave@daveramsey.com. He resides with his wife Sharon and their three children, Denise, Rachel, and Daniel, in Nashville, Tennessee.

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