How do I make a Will?

My husband and I want to make sure our daughter goes to my mother in the case of our death. Can we do it ourselves?

Asked on October 21, 2017 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you *may* draft a will yourself, but you are advised to not do so: it is too important to risk doing something wrong, and a lawyer is a good investment to make sure that the will does what you want it to (especialliy in regards to your daughter) and also is property signed and witnessed--since a will not properly signed and witnessed is not legally enforceable.
The above said, if you are determined to draft your own will, you may do so. It must be in writing; you each need your own will (they can be identical, except for the names and pronouns in them); you must sign and date the will in the presence of two witnesses, each of whom then signs and dates in each other's presence; the witnesses must be mentally competent, at least 18 and should not be inheriting anything from the will. Sign multiple copies of each will, keep a copy yourself at home, put a copy in a safe deposit box, give a copy to the person who will take care of your children (i.e. your mother), and maybe give a forth copy to someone else you trust (e.g. a sibling)--a will that gets lost may as well have not been made.

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