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How to Prepare Your Own Will in Utah For Less Than $50

You can prepare your own will for under $50.00 in the State of Utah--without a lawyer. In some cases, you may want to consult a lawyer if your situation is complicated. Otherwise, you need not pay much money to do your will all by yourself.

Go to the following Web sites to find a will form to match your situation:

Rocket Lawyer

Total Legal

Utah's Requirements for a Will

Holographic Wills

Holographic wills are written totally in your own handwriting and cannot be witnessed. They must be signed and dated and cannot contain any other marks except your writing. It is usually not the formal will you leave, but it is more often used to decide the details of who gets smaller items of value or other personal property you may own. But it could be accepted as your only will if you have done nothing else. Otherwise, with no written will of any kind, you have died "intestate," i.e., without a valid will. But a holographic will is better than nothing. It can be replaced later by another typewritten will with witnesses, or it can be added upon with another will-so long as the separate wills do not contradict each other in any way.

Here's an example of how a holographic will could be written:

Harry Smith Will

1. To my son James I give my remaining two cemetery plots at Wasatch View Memorial Park, which also includes two uninstalled paid for burial vaults.

2. To my daughter Janet I give my collection of mechanical and carpentry tools.

3. To my good friend Alvin, I give my Monopoly game.

4. To my brother Edward I give my 1969 Ford Mustang convertible, which Dad gave me as a birthday present in 1980.

_________________________ Harry L. Smith

Dated: January 11, 2012

Self-proving Will

A will that is notarized is a self-proving will. It must be witnessed. The signatures of the witnesses are what is being notarized, not the signature of the person making the will. If a self-proving will is taken to court, the judge will not have to make the witnesses testify that they acted as witnesses. Their notarized signatures are all that is required.

Personal Representatives

If you have minor children or an incompetent family member, your will should name a personal representative and a guardian/conservator. A personal representative is the person who does the work of seeing that the requirements of the will are carried out after you die. A guardian is the person who has legal control of a minor or incompetent person. A conservator is the person who controls the money and property of a minor or incompetent person.

Where to Keep Your Will

The originally signed copy of your will needs to be kept in a place your family can get to if you die. Some people keep their wills in a safety deposit box, but that makes it harder for your family to get to after you die. A filing cabinet or a strong box at home are better places. If you don't use an attorney, keep a second signed copy in a safe place.

If You Use an Attorney For Your Will

If you use an attorney to prepare your will, you should insist on having an originally signed copy. It is your will, not the attorney's. Be sure to tell your family where you keep your will. The lawyer may also keep an originally signed copy. If you revoke (cancel) the will, simply write the lawyer and tell him to destroy his copy.