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William Rambaum, PA Clearwater & Oldsmar Elder Law Attorney

A Young Person’s Guide to Writing Your Own Will


Being the parent of a young child in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic is enough to make anyone aware of their own mortality.  You might think that wills are only for elderly people or those with substantial assets, and when it first crossed your mind to write your will, you might have been lying awake and worrying about how you are going to pay next month’s bills, especially since your children’s school will be teaching online and your kids will constantly distract you while you try to work from home.  You might also have read that obesity, defined as a body mass index greater than 30, is a risk factor for serious complications of COVID-19 infection, and now that you have perfected your chocolate chip pancake recipe (using store brand pancake mix, of course), yours is 30.1.  In the morning, the feeling of dread might go away.  Your email inbox might contain your supervisor’s response to the document you submitted yesterday, praising it to the skies.  Your kids might joyfully mix the pancake better, and you might feel that everything will be all right.  You should still write a will, though.  Writing your own will now is exponentially better than not having one, but at some point, you should have a Florida estate planning lawyer review your will.

Simple Florida Will Checklist

Even if your assets are modest, it is important to write a will if you feel strongly about what will happen to anyone or anything in your life after you are gone.  If you do not specify your wishes in your will, the court will decide.  You can use online templates for writing a will, but your will is valid even if you just write it as a Word document, print it, and follow the formalities.

Follow these steps to get a valid will:

  • Identify yourself, the author of the will, by name.
  • Identify the people who will inherit your property; these are called the beneficiaries. Give each beneficiary’s name and relationship to you, as well as what you want each beneficiary to inherit.
  • Specify who will become your children’s legal guardian if they are minors when you die.
  • Specify who would be the personal representative of your estate; the personal representative can be a beneficiary, but you can also choose a non-beneficiary. Some people who work with estate planning lawyers choose their lawyer to act as personal representative of the estate.
  • Give instructions about your funeral, if this is important to you.
  • If you have pets, specify who will care for your pets if they survive you.
  • Sign a hard copy of your will.
  • Have two witnesses sign your will. The witnesses must be adults, and they must not be beneficiaries of the will.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

If you have young children but only a modest amount of property to leave to them, you should still consult an estate planning lawyer.  Contact Clearwater asset protection lawyer William Rambaum for help.



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