Drafting your own will is not as complicated as one might think. In fact, anyone can do it from their own home with a pen, paper, and two witnesses. The requirements to create your own legal will in Utah are:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must be "of sound mind" (the fact that you are reading and understanding this article is sufficient evidence that you meet this test)
- You must write the will, whether typewritten or handwritten
- You must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses; and
- The two witnesses must also sign the will
It is also recommended that the will be dated, an executor named, and that the witnesses sign a "self proving" notarized affidavit so that their testimonies aren't needed at subsequent probate court proceedings. There is no requirement that a will be recorded or filed with a government agency or that it be notarized.
Alternatively, in Utah you can create a legally enforceable will without any witnesses by creating what's called a "holographic will". A holographic will is simply a will where the signature and material portions of the will are in your own handwriting. While this might be simple to do, it comes under extra scrutiny in probate court and that is why it is almost always worth the little bit of effort to prepare a typed will and have it witnessed.
Although it is easy to put off, everyone should have a will . A will specifies who gets your property when you die and can serve other vital purposes such as appointing a personal guardian to raise your minor children. If you die without a will, a court decides who gets your property and who is best fit to raise your children.
For that reason alone, we highly encourage you to do the bare minimum and take the steps outlined today to draft your own will. Or if you prefer, we at J. Cutler would be happy to sit down with you for a free consultation to determine if your situation requires an attorney drafted will.
Either way, you'll have some peace of mind knowing that your family is taken care of if anything ever happened to you.