Senior Resources » Last Will and Testament Template/Worksheet

Last Will and Testament Template/Worksheet

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Estate planning. Drafting a will. These two subjects often go hand in hand. The basic purpose of a will is to ensure that a decedent’s assets are distributed to their beneficiaries. However, drafting a will isn’t as simple as sitting down and typing out your last wishes. Ultimately, wills are legal documents that must meet certain legal requirements to be valid.


And that’s where a template comes in!

Using a template ensures that the result will comply with relevant laws and regulations. This, in turn, will minimize the risk of disputes or challenges to its validity after a person’s death. Additionally, following a pre-made template may streamline the process and eliminate the need for extensive legal consultation in many cases. In other words, it can help you save both money and stress. If that sounds good to you, don’t go anywhere! Here’s everything you need to know about crafting an effective last will and testament.


Last Will and Testament: The Basics

Making a will can be complex, but using a worksheet can make it easier! Remember—a worksheet does not offer legal advice, nor is it legally binding in any way. After you complete the worksheet, you should contact a lawyer for further guidance on drafting the will.

Personal and Family Particulars

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This section should include the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Occupation
  • Home/office phone numbers
  • Date and place of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Marital status
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Marriage or common-law relationship:
    • Spouse’s full name
    • Address
    • Occupation
    • Home/office phone numbers
    • Date/place of birth
    • Citizenship
  • Children
    • Full name
    • Date of birth
  • Other Dependents:
    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Relationship to you

Will Particulars

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This section should include the following information:

  • Appointment of Guardian(s) for Infant Children
    • Do you have a child under the age of 19?
    • Who will be their guardian(s) should you die before they reach age 19?
    • Who will be their alternate guardian(s) before they reach age 19?
  • Distribution of Your Estate
    • (a) Do you wish to leave your estate to your spouse if he/she survives you?
    • Do you wish to share your estate between your spouse and your children?
    • If so, how?
    • (b) If your spouse dies before you, do you wish to leave your estate to your children?
    • If so, in equal shares?
    • If in unequal shares, what proportion or amount is each child to get?
    • (c) At what age(s) do you wish your children to receive their share?
    • (d) If any child fails to survive to that age, do you wish his or her children to receive the share
    • (e) If one of your children dies before you do, who do you wish to receive his or her share of
    • your estate?
    • (f) If your spouse and children all die before you do, who do you want to receive
    • your estate?

Asset Inventory

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This section should include the following information:

  • Bank Accounts
    • Checking accounts
    • Savings accounts
    • Money market accounts
    • Certificate of deposit (CD) accounts
  • Real Estate Property
    • Your home
    • Vacation homes or rental properties
    • Land
    • Commercial real estate
  • Investment Assets
    • Stocks and bonds
    • Mutual funds
    • Cryptocurrencies
  • Digital Assets
    • Blogs
    • Websites
    • Social media accounts
    • Email accounts
    • Digital documents, like Word files
    • Online storage accounts, like Google Drive
    • Music or movie files
  • Businesses
    • Business bank or investment accounts
    • Financial information
    • Insurance information
    • Founding documents, like articles of incorporation
  • Personal Items
    • Furniture
    • Vehicles, such as cars and boats
    • Artwork
    • Antiques and collectibles
    • Heirlooms

Customization Options

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No two people are alike, which means that no two people are alike in how they’ll approach estate planning. Make sure that you leave some room for customization within your will template. You don’t have to follow a direct replica of this template or others that you may find online. Remember—whatever you create through this template is not a legally binding document.

  • Blank Spaces: Include ample blank spaces and additional lines to your own assets, beneficiaries, and special provisions not covered in the template.
  • Additional Notes Section: Include a section for additional notes or instructions, where you can provide further details or preferences not covered elsewhere in the template. Additionally, if you have any questions for an attorney or legal expert, consider adding them to this supplementary section.
  • Legal Disclaimer: Add a disclaimer advising users to consult with legal or financial professionals for personalized advice and to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Custom Fields: Some people have unique provisions that may not be covered by a template. This may include digital asset management instructions, pet care arrangements, or specific cultural or religious considerations. Whatever the case, consider writing a custom section by hand and filling it out with the necessary information.

Testamentary Intentions Clarification

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  • Asset Allocation:
    • List of Assets: List all assets, including properties, investments, belongings, and valuable items.
    • Beneficiary Allocation: Specify how each asset should be distributed among beneficiaries, whether equally, by percentage, or through specific instructions.
    • Special Considerations: Outline any special considerations or conditions for asset distribution, such as providing for minor children, setting up trusts, or considering tax implications.

Always seek legal advice to ensure that asset allocation decisions are legally valid and compliant with your state’s relevant laws and regulations!

Executor Designation

An executor, sometimes referred to as an executrix if female, is a person appointed by an individual in their will to carry out the terms of the will and administer their estate after their death. The executor’s primary role is to manage the deceased person’s assets, pay off any debts and taxes owed by the estate, and distribute the remaining assets to the designated beneficiaries according to the instructions outlined in the will.

The responsibilities of an executor may include:

  1. Probate Process: Initiating the probate process, which is the legal procedure for validating the deceased person’s will and distributing their assets.
  2. Asset Management: Gathering and safeguarding the deceased person’s assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts, and personal belongings.
  3. Debt Settlement: Identifying and paying off any debts or liabilities owed by the estate, such as mortgages, loans, credit card bills, and funeral expenses.
  4. Tax Filing: Filing necessary tax returns on behalf of the deceased person and the estate, including income tax returns and estate tax returns.
  5. Beneficiary Distribution: Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will, either outright or through trusts established in the will.
  6. Legal Proceedings: Representing the estate in legal matters, including disputes with creditors or beneficiaries, and defending the validity of the will if contested.
  7. Accounting and Reporting: Keeping accurate records of all estate transactions, preparing an inventory of assets, and providing periodic accountings to the beneficiaries.

Special Bequests and Conditional Gifts

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Specific Gifts:

A specific gift will is a type of will that includes provisions for leaving specific assets or sums of money to designated beneficiaries. In contrast to a general distribution of assets where beneficiaries receive a share of the overall estate, specific gifts allow individuals to allocate particular items or amounts to specific individuals, organizations, or entities.

  • List of Specific Gifts:
    • Jewelry and Watches: A testator may specify that a particular piece of jewelry, such as a family heirloom necklace or a valuable watch, is given to a specific family member or friend.
    • Real Estate: The testator may designate a specific property, such as a vacation home, rental property, or primary residence, to be transferred to a named beneficiary.
    • Artwork and Collectibles: Specific works of art, sculptures, paintings, or other collectible items may be bequeathed to beneficiaries.
    • Vehicles: A testator may choose to leave a specific vehicle to a family member, friend, or charitable organization.
    • Cash Bequests: The will may include specific monetary gifts or cash bequests to individuals for specific purposes like education, travel, or personal expenses.
    • Stocks and Investments: Specific stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or investment accounts may be allocated to beneficiaries who have an interest in financial assets or who may benefit from the income generated by these investments.
    • Charitable Donations: The testator may choose to leave specific sums of money or assets to charitable organizations, foundations, or institutions.
    • Pets: In some cases, individuals may include provisions for the care and well-being of their pets, specifying a trusted caregiver and providing funds for their ongoing care and maintenance.
    • Digital Assets: With the increasing prevalence of digital assets, a testator may specify the transfer of specific digital assets.
    • Memorabilia and Personal Effects: Items with sentimental value, such as family photo albums, may be designated as specific gifts to loved ones.

Conditional Provisions:

Conditional provisions will allow the testator to make specific requirements or conditions that must be met for beneficiaries to receive their inheritances. These conditions can help ensure that the testator’s wishes are carried out in a manner that aligns with their values, beliefs, and intentions. Some that you might want to account for include:

  • Age-Based Conditions: Beneficiaries must reach a certain age, such as 18, 21, or 25, before they can receive their inheritance. This condition ensures that beneficiaries are mature enough to manage their inheritances responsibly.
  • Educational Requirements: Beneficiaries must graduate from college, obtain a specific degree, or complete a vocational training program before they can receive their inheritance. This condition may be intended to encourage beneficiaries to pursue higher education or acquire valuable skills.
  • Marriage or Family Conditions: Beneficiaries must marry, have children, or establish a family within a specified time frame to receive their inheritance. This condition may be intended to encourage beneficiaries to settle down and start a family.
  • Asset Management Conditions: Beneficiaries must agree to certain conditions or restrictions on how they can use or manage their inheritances, such as investing the funds responsibly or using them for specific purposes, such as education, healthcare, or housing.
  • Continued Relationship Conditions: Beneficiaries must maintain a positive relationship with the testator’s family or fulfill certain obligations, such as visiting the testator’s grave or attending family gatherings, to receive their inheritance.

Other Things to Remember

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Now that we’ve covered all the basics of what a great will worksheet or template can include, there are a few other things you need to remember. First, always check your state law, especially regarding signatures and other legalities. You want to make sure that your will is valid! Second, it’s always a good idea to periodically review and revise your will. Experts suggest that you should review it every three years, even if you don’t experience any significant life changes. Finally, make sure that you store your will in a safe location, such as a safe deposit box or with a trusted individual.

When it comes to drafting a will, the process doesn’t need to be complicated. By following a template and outlining your wishes in advance, you can streamline the process of drafting a will and make it a much more stress-free process!

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Originally published May 23, 2024


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