Few people, young or old, look forward to writing a will. A will is not an easy subject to broach, but it is important to have documents in place to ease the burden for family members. When a person dies without a will, his or her assets might not go where he or she intended. In some instances, assets might go to the government. For parents who die before their children are grown, a will can also serve as a legal document indicating a plan for custody of the kids. Although it is often preferable to consult with a local estate-planning attorney who understands the language and legalities surrounding a will, it is also possible to write a will yourself. There are forms that can be purchased from office-supply stores, or a will can be prepared online by answering questions and then generating a form to print. The will also can be typed or handwritten. Handwritten wills are called holographic wills and may not be recognized unless written during an emergency situation, such as a fatal illness. Laws regarding wills vary based on where you live. Therefore, learn the legalities before preparing a will so you will have a document that holds up in a court of law and can be executed to your desires. Here is some of the basic information that may be included in your will. * Include your name, address, date of birth, and social security numbers if they will better help identify you should there be confusion. * State that you are of sound mind when writing this will and of contractual capacity. * Write a statement indicating that this will revokes all other wills that may have been executed before. * List the names and addresses of all of your children. If the children are minors, at this point you can also specify your wishes with regards to their guardianship. List the names and addresses of the people whom you wish to have custody of your children. * Appoint an executor or executrix to carry out the affairs of your estate and instructions specified in the will. This person typically must be over the age of 18. Select someone whom you trust to honor your wishes. * Indicate how you want the executor to handle your financial affairs, including paying taxes, funeral costs, final expenses, etc. At this point you also may want to spell out where you would like to be buried and any specific requests with regard to the funeral, viewing, and any other funeral-related details. * Indicate the executor has permission to sell your home and personal belongings that are not included in personal gifts to be distributed. * List any gifts you would like to be distributed to certain people. This may be a doll collection to a daughter, coins to a son, china to an aunt, etc. * Specify the percentages of your assets to be distributed should the listed beneficiaries survive you. Maybe you want to divide your estate evenly between two children. If so, allocate 50 percent to one and 50 percent to the other. You may have more specific breakdowns. Should these people not survive you, you can establish an alternate or list nothing, in which case the assets will be put back into the general pot. * Include a residuary clause that states how to distribute any remaining assets. * State whether you want the executor to be reimbursed for any expenses that result from executing the will. * Indicate that you would like the executor to post bond as a form of insurance so that the executor can't run off with the money for himself. * Name an alternative executor should the first pass away before executing the will or if he or she is unable to serve upon your death. * Sign the will in front of two or three witnesses (check what is required where you live) and a notary public. The witnesses cannot be anyone named in the will. This article is intended as general information about what is typically covered in a standard will. It should not be taken as legal advice. Prior to implementing any of these tips, consult with an attorney certified in estate planning.