Checklist: Writing a Will

A will is a legal document that states who will receive your property when you die, who will oversee your estate (paying taxes, distributing assets), and, if you have children under 18, who will raise and care for your children. If you don’t have a will, the courts will make these decisions for you.

In order to create a will, you're going to need to work with an attorney or an online legal service. This worksheet can prepare you for the conversations and decisions you’re going to have to make. To learn more about creating a will, click here.

  • Choose your beneficiaries
    • When I die, I would like my money and the things I own (my estate) to be given to the following people and organizations in the following amounts (dollar value, specific objects, or percentage of the total estate):

Name                                                                     Amount/Items

1. _____________________________          _____________________________
2. _____________________________          _____________________________
3. _____________________________          _____________________________
4. _____________________________          _____________________________
5. _____________________________          _____________________________
6. _____________________________          _____________________________

  • Choose your executor
    • The person I would like to have oversee my estate, including submitting my will to probate, paying any bills, dues, or taxes, and distributing my estate to my beneficiaries according to my wishes is ______________________________________.
    • If this person is unable to serve as my executor, I would like my back-up (“successor”) executor to be ______________________________________.
  • Choose guardians for minor children or dependent adults
    • If I should die, the person I would like to raise my child/children/dependent (serve as guardian of the person) is ______________________________________.
    • If this person is unable to serve as guardian, I would like my back-up (“successor”) guardian of the person to be ______________________________________.
    • The person I would like to handle the finances of my child/children/dependent (serve as guardian of the estate) is ______________________________________.
    • If this person is unable to serve as guardian, I would like my back-up (“successor”) guardian of the estate to be ______________________________________.