I am not going to give legal advice. I will dispense a little common sense because I am a little “long in the tooth” myself and I have heard lots of sad stories about people who have not been prepared to die.
You want to have a last will and testament so that you can protect the assets that you have worked so hard to obtain throughout your life and give them to your family and loved ones instead of to the state, the lawyers, and maybe relatives that you do not want to inherit them.
If you die without making a will, your estate will be considered intestate, which means that the courts will decide who will get your home and property. This formula for how they divide up your assets will vary by state. The state will decide where the next of kin will line up and how the assets get proportioned. If you are single and are renting, it is not as important to have as if you are married with a child and a home. If you are divorced and remarried with children from both marriages, you should think about what happens if you die. Get a will.
You can use the internet to find a will template to write your last will down. If it is a simple will, you can do this without any problem and it will be free. If your situation is more complicated, it might be a good idea to talk to an attorney. If you have substantial assets that will subject to federal taxes or if you want to have a living trust, seek the help of an attorney.
Your will can be used to decide who is to be the guardian of your children if you die. This might be important to you. Do you want to leave that up to the courts to decide? You might have already told your sister to take care of the kids if you die, but you need to get this in writing. A last will is a contract you will sign and have witnessed by at least two adults. It is even better to take it someplace like your bank or courthouse and have it notarized.
You can change your will when your situation changes. As a matter of fact, you should update it when there is another child born, a death in the family, a divorce, a new marriage, or you move to a new state. While you are doing all of this organizing of your life, fill out a living will.
If you are looking for a will template on the internet, there are a lot of sites that are advertising for you to become a customer of theirs. You do not have to do this. You do not have to buy the template, give them your credit card information, or even sign up with your email address if you do not want to. There is a site called rocketlawyer.com that will give you all of the information and then have you sign up at the end with your email. But if you live in California, you can go to calbar.ca.gov for a free kit. You can also get a free last will and testament template from livingwillid.com. While you are there, you should also look at the forms for a living will template. Another site is lastwillandtestamentsite.com.
These sites are always subject to change. Do your research. I am just pointing these out to you to let you know that the will templates are available to you free of charge and there is very little reason for you to be caught short by not having one filled out for you and your family.