This was circulating on some listservs this week, but thank you to Jennifer Sawday at the California Estate Planning Blog for her post on the topic!

If you die without a Will or a Trust, here’s a great tongue-in-cheek example of what the Will that many states will draw up for you in your stead:

[Remember, this is tongue-in-cheek and not a valid Will by any means. Don’t copy anything!]


(Drawn up for Her by the State)

I, AMY DOE, of _______________________________, declare this to be my will.


1.1    I give to my husband only one-third (1/3) of my possessions, and I give to my children the remaining two thirds (2/3) equally.

1.2    I appoint my husband as guardian of the property of my minor children, but as a safeguard I require that he report to the Probate Court each year and render an accounting of how, why and where he spent the money necessary for the proper care of my children.

1.3    As a further safeguard, I direct my husband to produce to the Probate Court a Performance Bond to guarantee that he exercises proper judgment in the handling, investing and spending of the children’s money.

1.4    As a final safeguard, my children shall have the right to demand and receive a complete accounting from their father of all of his financial actions with their money as soon as they reach legal age.

1.5    When my daughter reaches age eighteen (18), she shall have full rights to withdraw and spend her share of my estate. My son shall have this right as soon as he reaches age eighteen (18). No one shall have any right to question my children’s actions on how they decide to spend their respective shares, after they are received.


2.1    Should my husband remarry and then die intestate, his second wife shall be entitled to one-third (1/3) of everything my former husband owns.

2.2    Should my children need some of this share for their support, the second wife shall not be bound to spend any part of this share on my children’s behalf. The second wife shall have the sole right to decide who is to get her share, even to the exclusion of my children.


3.1    Should my husband predecease me or die while any of my children are minors, I do not wish to exercise my right to nominate the guardian of the person and/or of the property of my children.  Rather than nominating a guardian of my preference, I direct my relatives to get together and select a guardian by mutual agreement.

3.2    If my relatives fail to agree on a guardian, I direct the Probate Court to make the selection.  If the court wishes, it may appoint a stranger acceptable to it who will be entitled to compensation for handling my children’s property.


4.1    Under the existing tax laws, there are certain legitimate avenues open to me to lower death taxes.  Since I prefer to have my money used for governmental purposes rather than for the benefit of my husband and children, I have made no effort to lower death taxes.


5.1    I am leaving it to the discretion of the Probate Court to appoint my
husband my personal representative.  Since I do not care about saving money for my family:

5.1.1    I know that my husband as Personal Representative may have to have, and that my estate may have to pay, a premium on my husband’s Performance Bond as Personal Representative;

5.1.2    I know that my Personal Representative will have to obtain court approval for all sales of estate assets which will increase attorney’s fees and court costs.

5.2    Since I am allowing the State to write my will for me, I accept all changes in the law affecting my estate which are made by statute and court decision at any time prior to my death.

5.3    I hereby forego the opportunity to state a presumption regarding my death in case my spouse and I die simultaneously, preferring the Uniform Simultaneous Death Act to apply.

5.4    I hereby forego the opportunity to require a beneficiary hereunder to survive me for a certain length of time so that if a beneficiary dies shortly after me, there will be a probate both at my death and at the beneficiary’s death.  I do this partly because I know there are a lot of lawyers today and I want to create probate work for them, and partly because I want the state and federal governments to be able to get twice as much in death taxes in a short period of item.

Made by the State for me on this, the date of my death __________________.

Amy Doe
(No Signature Required)