How you can write a legal will from home

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are getting their affairs in order during a time when meeting with legal professionals is nearly impossible.

Houston Volunteer Lawyers legal service director Veronica Jacobs says now is the ideal time for a legal checkup.

"The legal term for it is a 'holographic will,' and what people need to know is that it needs to be written not on a computer, but in your own handwriting. And the first thing you would say is, 'My name is Brhe Berry and this is my last will and testament,'"Jacobs said.

Here are the steps you need, to write your own legally recognized will from home.

You can view the full downloadable PDF on how to write a holographic will from home here
  • Must be in your own handwriting
  • Write who you want to receive your belongings
  • Write who you want to be your independent executor
  • Date and sign the will

"Write it in blue ink because that is always a good way to tell the original from a copy," Jacobs advised. "But it is just a stop-gap measure, because once this pandemic is over, and it will be over, you can check with an attorney and make sure that it's valid."

Jacobs says now is also the time to think about your finances.

"See if you have a person that you want your bank account money to go to, that's called a payable on death or often called a POD account," Jacobs said.

This guarantees your money will go to the person you want it to without having to go to probate court.

Your will does not include your bank accounts, your retirement money or CD's.

While you are looking at your finances, now is also a good time to make sure you have a rainy day fund and an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund should cover three to six months of living expenses including bills, debt payments, groceries and child care.

Your rainy day fund should cover a one-time unexpected and smaller expenditure. Jacobs says it's also a good idea to take pictures of all of your belongings.

"Mom may leave one of her daughters a ring in her will, but if she has five rings, you may not know which one," Jacobs said. "It's a good idea to take a picture of all of your items to help your family."

Follow Brhe Berry on Facebook and Twitter.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.