A last will and testament is a legal document that dictates what happens when you die.  Who gets what, who is in charge of making sure that happens, etc.  If you have kids, a last will and testament also typically sets forth who will be a guardian.  Can a will be handwritten on a napkin?  Actually, yes.  In Utah and in most states holographic wills are recognized and legally binding.  It needs to be signed and dated and it helps if it’s in your handwriting.  So, if you do not have time or resources to do a fancy will, you can always have a handwritten one.

Why would anyone pay an attorney to do a will then?  A “beefier” will contains language that will be more precise and can foresee typical problems.  It will also be signed in a way that makes it harder to contest.  You can also have it customized to be exactly what you want.  Can you use a template you find online?  Yes.  However, sometimes it’s hard to wade through the legalese and know what the template is actually saying.  It’s easy to miss things by just cutting and pasting into a document you’ve found online.  That being said, there are some good options out there if you want to save money and do it yourself.  Will or no will with a lot of assets will end up having to go through probate.  We will talk about probate basics in a future post.