Can I write my own will?

UPDATED: May 19, 2009

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Can I write my own will?

I need to write a will,but I can’t afford to go to an attorney.I’m disabled,so I don’t have a lot of money or personal possessions to give.I want to make sure that my body will be given to medical research so that it can be studied for fibromyalgia and hopefully help find a cure for my daughters,who will also have it.

Asked on May 19, 2009 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can write your own will.  I'm not an Arkansas lawyer, but some quick internet research suggests that you can do this either by writing it all out by hand (this is called a "holographic will") or by having two witnesses watch you sign it, then sign it as witnesses.  However, simply putting "Last Will and Testament" or words like that on the document, and even listing your children's names, with what you want each one to have under their names, isn't necessarily enough to make it valid.

There are a number of ways to find sample language for wills, but the most reliable, of course, is a lawyer.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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