This page provides information on statutory will forms in the handful of states that have adopted them. Statutory will forms should only be used for very basic, small, uncomplicated estates. Unlike a will drafted by an attorney, statutory will forms provided by the state are fill in the blank documents, not customized or tailored to fit your specific situation.
However, if you cannot afford an attorney or believe a statutory will form is adequate for your needs, these will forms are free and may be accessed online. Before executing a will using these forms, review the important information on our statutory will forms page.
How to Execute a Statutory Will Form
A state's statutory will form is usually posted with instructions on how to execute it. Instructions for execution are also typically set forth in the state code or state statute that contains the statutory will form. Even if you do your best to follow the instructions for executing a will form, the only way to be sure your will is valid and enforceable is to have it drafted by a lawyer and have the lawyer oversee the execution of your will.In general, wills must be executed in the presence of witnesses. The exact number of witnesses required and who may serve as a witness to a will signing are matters of state law. See our page on state laws for information about your state.
Self-Proving Will Forms
To ensure your estate planning wishes are enforced, you may want to execute a self-proving affidavit with your will, depending on the laws of the state where you are domiciled. Because each state has its own laws regarding probate and proving a will, consult an attorney for advice on how to make a valid will. To view a list of self-proving affidavits by state, go to Self-Proving Will Forms.
Requirements to Make a Statutory Will
To make a statutory will, you generally must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind, meaning you have the requisite testamentary capacity or mental capacity to make a will. However, the requirements to make a last will and testament are set by state laws and vary from state to state. Before going to have your will witnessed, review the instructions on the statutory will form and any applicable requirements in your state for making a valid will.
Using Will Forms
If your state does not have a statutory will, do not use the statutory will form for another state to make your will. A statutory will form is only intended to be valid and enforceable in the state in which it is adopted.Failure to use a will form designed for use in your state may result in your estate passing to your heirs under the laws of intestate succession as if you died without a will. To learn what would happen, go to dying without a will.If your state does not offer a statutory will form, you can use estate planning software to print a customized will form designed for use in your state. One of the advantages of using this software is it includes other essential estate planning forms as well. It also allows you to make changes to your will rather than having to use a pre-printed will form that is too basic to include all the provisions you want.
California Will Form
California Probate Code Section 6240 provides a statutory will form. A free copy of the California statutory will is available from The State Bar of California website.For resources on how to make a will, living trust, power of attorney, and health care directives in California, go to our
CA Estate Planning Books page which has a list of estate planning manuals.
The Michigan Legislative Service Bureau publishes a helpful estate planning guide which contains the Michigan statutory will form. To print a free copy of the guide, including the will form, go to the
State Bar of Michigan website.
New Mexico Will Form
You can make a New Mexico statutory will under the state's Uniform Statutory Will Act. It is set forth in Section 45 of the NM Uniform Probate Code. To view the New Mexico statutory will form, go to NM Statutes Sec. 45-2A-17, Form of Statutory Will, on the New Mexico Statutes and Court Rules site.