Sample Will

When a lawyer completes your will, it will look similar to the sample will contained in this section. The information specific to the hypothetical client, Jane, is in bold.


I, JANE A. DO E, a resident of Sarasota County, Florida, do make, publish, and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former wills and codicils.


My husband is JOHN ALEXANDER DOE. I have two (2) children, JACK JOSEPH DOE and JAMIE ANN DOE. Except as otherwise qualified, the words “child” or “children” when used in this Will with reference to me shall mean all my above-named children. The words “child” or “children” when used in this Will with reference to any person other than me shall mean all natural and adopted children including natural children born after the death of their parent but excluding stepchildren and foster children. The word “descendants” when used in this Will shall mean all of the person's lineal descendants of all generations, except those who are descendants of a living descendant, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation being determined under governing law. To be a child or descendant by virtue of adoption, the person must be adopted while a minor.


I direct payment of all debts enforceable against me during my lifetime which are presented in a timely manner during the administration of my estate, the expenses of my last illness and funeral, burial, cemetery marker, cremation, or other disposition of my body, and the expenses of administration of my estate, provided that if any property (including life insurance) owned by me jointly, or individually, passing under this Will or otherwise, shall be encumbered by a mortgage, pledge, security interest, loan, lien, or unpaid taxes, the indebtedness secured by such encumbrance shall not be charged to or paid by my estate but such property shall pass subject to all encumbrances existing at my death.


(1) I devise to my husband, if he survives me, all my clothing, jewelry, watches, household goods, personal effects, motor vehicles, household furniture and fixtures, dishes, china, silver, athletic and sporting equipment, books, collections, yard and maintenance equipment, tools, works of art, antiques, and all other tangible personal property (excluding therefrom tangible personal property owned by me and used in connection with any business I may own) not heretofore specifically devised or otherwise effectually disposed of, such items hereinafter referred to collectively as my “personal property.” Further, I may leave a list or other document directing certain items of my personal property to particular children or other persons. If I do this, I request that my bequests be honored.

(2) If my husband fails to survive me, I devise my personal property and the tangible personal property of a similar nature received by me from my husband at his death, to my surviving children (or all to one if only one survives), to be divided by them as they agree, or if they fail to agree within six (6) months after my death, in equal shares, the assets constituting such equal shares to be determined by my Executor, whose decision shall be final and binding on all interested parties.

(3) If my husband and children all fail to survive me, these specific devises shall lapse and become part of the residue of my estate.

(4) All expenses incurred in the safeguarding and delivery of tangible personal property, including, without limitation, storage, packing, shipping, and insurance expenses, shall be treated as an expense of the administration of my estate and shall not be charged against the devisee who receives such tangible personal property.

(5) I devise all of my insurance policies that provide indemnity for the loss of any of my personal or real property by fire, windstorm, or other similar casualty (including any claim for the loss of any such property that I might have at the time of my death against any insurance company) to those persons or entities who shall become the owners of such properties by reason of my death, whether such ownership be acquired under the provisions of this Will or otherwise.


All the rest and residue of my estate, wherever situated, including lapsed devises, but expressly excluding any property over which I may have power of appointment at my death, I devise to my husband, JOHN ALEXANDER DO E. In the event he predeceases me, my residuary estate shall be distributed to my children, JACK JOSEPH DO E and JAMIE ANN DOE, in equal shares, per stirpes.

If my husband and all my children and their descendants all fail to survive me, I devise said residue to the SOUTHEASTERN DO G RESCUE, IN C., 1234 Puppy Lane, Anytown, FL 12345, (555) 555-5555.


All inheritance, estate, succession, transfer, and other estate taxes, both federal and state, including any interest or penalties thereon, charged against my estate or any person or entity, which become payable by reason of my death, whether in respect to property passing under this Will or otherwise, except any taxes imposed on any generation-skipping transfer under Chapter 13 of the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or any corresponding provision of any future United States law, and except taxes attributable to any taxable power of appointment I have, shall be paid out of the residue of my probate estate without apportionment and no part thereof shall be charged back or imposed on any such person or entity. My Executor shall have the power to select tax years and make all other decisions and elections permitted under any applicable income, estate, or inheritance tax law, including the imposition of a lien on estate assets to secure tax payments, without regard to the effect thereof, if any, on any devisee of my estate, and, if any such decision or election shall be made, to apportion, or refrain from apportioning, the consequences thereof among the devisees of my estate, all in such manner as my Executor shall deem appropriate. If my Executor in good faith decides that there is uncertainty as to the inclusion of particular property in my gross estate for federal estate tax purposes, then such property may, in the discretion of my Executor, be excluded from my gross estate in my federal estate tax return. The decision of my Executor as to the date that should be selected for the valuation of property in my gross estate for federal estate tax purposes shall be conclusive on all concerned.


Any devisee of this Will who dies within sixty (60) days after my death shall be deemed to have failed to survive me and this Will shall be interpreted and my estate administered as though I had survived such devisee.


This Will is being executed on even date with a Will of my husband, but in no event shall said Wills be considered joint and/or mutual. It is my express intent that the survivor of myself and my husband shall in no way be restricted thereby in the use, management, enjoyment, or disposition of our estates or his separate estate by subsequent gift, will, or sale.


I give to my Executor, in addition to and not in limitation of all common law and statutory powers, the following powers: to retain any estate asset at any time received, for such period as my Executor shall deem advisable; to invest or reinvest in any property, real or personal; to sell, exchange, lease, give options upon, partition, or otherwise dispose of any property, real or personal, in my estate, at public or private sale, without regard to the necessity of such sale for the purpose of paying debts, taxes, or legacies, for cash or other consideration or on credit and upon such terms and conditions as my Executor deems advisable; to adjust, compromise, and settle all matters of business and claims in favor of or against my estate; to insure, repair, maintain, and preserve property; to retain and continue any business or business interest in which I am engaged or which I own; to give proxies and hold or register securities in the name of a nominee, a securities depositor, or in any other form convenient for my estate; to exercise any stock option or any other kind of option; to join in mergers, reorganizations, joint creditors actions, or other similar arrangements; to allocate and apportion receipts and disbursements to income or principal reasonably and in accordance with sound estate accounting principles; to sue for tax refunds; to borrow in the name of my estate, including the right to borrow from a corporate Executor or any affiliate, and in connection therewith, to mortgage, pledge, or encumber estate assets, provided my Executor shall not be personally liable and that any such loan shall be payable out of estate assets only; to join in the filing of joint income or gift tax returns with my husband; to petition for the appointment of or actually appoint an ancillary estate fiduciary and to pay the expenses of ancillary administration; to distribute my estate in cash or in kind, or partly in cash and partly in kind, as my Executor deems advisable, and to satisfy a specific dollar amount devise in kind, in the discretion of my Executor, and, for purposes of distribution, to value assets reasonably and in good faith as of the date of distribution, provided that my Executor shall not be required to distribute a proportionate amount of each asset to each devisee but may instead make nonpro rata distributions, and provided further, that in making distributions, my Executor may, but shall not be required to, take account of the income tax basis in relation to market value of assets distributed; to distribute assets directly to the devisee, to a legally appointed Guardian or Conservator or, whereby permitted by law, to a custodian under any Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, including a custodian selected by my Executor; and to do any and all things necessary or proper to complete the administration of my estate, all as fully as I could do if living. All such powers may be exercised without application to any court and shall be exercisable by any alternate, survivor, or successor Executor(s).


I appoint JOHN ALEXANDER DOE as Executor. In the event JOHN ALEXANDER DOE cannot serve, I appoint my daughter, JAMIE ANN DOE, as Executor. If JAMIE ANN DOE cannot serve, I appoint JACK JOSEPH DOE as Executor. I direct that no bond be required of any executor named in this Will.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand and seal to this, my Last Will and Testament, consisting of this and the preceding (insert number of pages) typewritten pages, and the witness provisions hereinafter, and for the purpose of identification I have signed this and the preceding pages, all in the presence of the persons witnessing it at my request at Sarasota County, Florida, on this _______________ day of June, 20____.

On this ___ day of June, 20____, JANE A. DOE declared to us, the undersigned, that the foregoing instrument consisting of these witness provisions and the foregoing (insert number of pages), was her Last Will and Testament and she requested us to act as witnesses to the same and to her signature thereon. She thereupon signed said Will in our presence, we being present at the same time. We now, at her request, in her presence, and in the presence of each other, do hereunto subscribe our names as witnesses. We, and each of us, declare that we believe this Testatrix to be of sound mind and memory.




We, JANE A. DO E, [Insert Name Witness 1], and [Insert Name Witness 2], the Testatrix and the witnesses, respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, having been sworn, declared to the undersigned officer that the Testatrix, in the presence of witnesses, signed the instrument as the Testatrix's Last Will, that the Testatrix signed, and that each of the witnesses, in the presence of the Testatrix and in the presence of each other, signed the Will as a witness.

Subscribed and sworn to before me by JANE A. DOE, the Testatrix who is personally known to me or who has produced _______ as identification, and by [Insert Name Witness 1], a witness who is personally known to me or who has produced _______________ as identification, and by [Insert Name Witness 2], a witness who is personally known to me or who has produced _______________ as identification, on this ___ day of June, 20____.

Some states require that your will have an Affidavit of Execution like the one found in the sample document. The Affidavit, which is the same as the self-proving will mentioned earlier, must be signed in the presence of the same two witnesses and a notary. It's a good idea to make sure your will would meet the requirement of any state where you might live or have property.

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