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Find FAQs related to last will and testaments.
You do not have to file your last will with a court or other governmental authority after you sign it. After your death, however, your last will must be filed with the court. It will then become public.
If you do not make a last will, state law will determine who gets your property. This process is called "intestate succession." In most states, your property would first be divided between your spouse and your children. If you are not married and have no children, your property would be distributed to your closest living relatives. If the administrator of your estate cannot find a living relative entitled to your property under the law, the property would go to the state.
The court will not enforce your last will unless the following criteria are met:
In addition to these provisions, the law also requires that a last will's appearance be uniform: all important sections should be entirely typewritten or computer-generated. Although some states allow last wills that are entirely handwritten, this option is not recommended (See section immediately below.). Typically, you do not have to get your last will notarized. However LegalZoom allows you to "self-prove" your last will (when allowed by state law). For self-proving last wills, you must have a separate affidavit notarized. The advantage of self proving last wills is that witnesses do not have to be located after your death.