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Wills 101

What To Do If You Write Your Will Yourself

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If you do write a Will yourself: Ideally, ask a lawyer to read it to be sure it is okay. Then execute the will under the supervision of a lawyer to be sure it follows the specifics of the law of the state in which you live. A mistake in a will cannot be fixed later.

If this doesn't work for you:

  • Be sure to follow all the rules of the state of your legal residence for what needs to be included in a valid will as well as the proper procedure for executing a Will. (For example, a person who will receive any benefit under your Will should not be a witness). 
  • Understand that it may be difficult to challenge-proof a Will when execution is not supervised by a lawyer. (Click here for information on how to challenge-proof a will).
  • When executing the will, ask the witnesses to your will to sign an affidavit which they sign in the presence of a Notary Public that includes at least the following:
    • The procedure used when executing the will
    • That you asked the people who ultimately acted as witnesses to witness the exectuion of your will
    • That they were one of the witnesses. 
    • That the witnesses were all together with you during the entire procedure
    • That you appeared to be of sound mind, understood the nature of your property and the identities of the benficiaries.

Following is a sample affidavit which was prepared for a resident of the state of New York. Check your local law to find out what should be included in your state.



COUNTY OF _____________ )

Each of the undersigned, individually and severally being duly sworn, deposes and says:

The within Will was subscribed in our presence and sight at the end thereof by ___________ , the within named testator, on the ____ day of ______________, 20__ at ___________________________________.

Said testator, at the time of making such subscription, declared the instrument so subscribed to be his Last Will and Testament.

Each of the undersigned thereupon signed by name as a witness at the end of said Will at the request of said testator and in his presence and signed and in the presence and sight of each other.

Said testator was, at the time of so executing said Will over the age of 18 years and, in the respective opinions of the undersigned, of sound memory and understanding and not under any restraint or in any respect incompetent to make a Will.

The testator, in the respective opinions of the undersigned, could read, write and converse in the English language and was suffering from no defect of sight, hearing or speech, or from any other physical or mental impairment which would affect his capacity to make a valid Will. The Will was executed as a single, original instrument and was not executed in counterparts.

Each of the undersigned was acquainted with the said testator at such time and makes this affidavit at his request.

The within Will was shown to the undersigned at the time this affidavit was made, and was examined by each of us as to the signature of said testator and of the undersigned.

The foregoing instrument was executed by the testator and witnessed by each of the undersigned affiants, under the supervision of David S. Landay an attorney at law.

______________________________ (Signature)

______________________________ (Print Name)



______________________________ (Signature)

______________________________ (Print Name)



______________________________ (Signature)

______________________________ (Print Name)



The foregoing instrument was executed before me, a Notary Public in and of the state of ___________________ this _____ day of _______, 2011, by _________________________________, ____________________________, and ________________________.


SEAL Signature: ________________________

Name: _________________________

Commission No.: ___________________

My Commission Expires: _____________

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