How To Write a Last Will and Testament: Basic Facts and Sample Template

Updated: October 28, 2021

Let’s talk about death today, not just because it’s appropriate for the season – but more importantly because – you never really know when it will come.

And knowing how to write a will today is better than any other day that remains in your life.

Personally, one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life is family members and relatives hating and fighting each other over a man’s wealth.

And more often than not, because the departed left no last will, those who truly deserved to receive the most are the ones who usually get the least – truly sad.

What is a Will?

At the most basic level, a will is a legal document that tells how a person wants to distribute his estate upon his death.

The person creating the will is called the testator, and it must be written in a language or dialect that is known to him.

Meanwhile, individuals who are set to be recipients of the wealth are called heirs. And the person named in the will who is assigned to implement the provisions is called the executor.

In the Philippines, wills should be written (and cannot be in any other form, i.e., audio or video recording). Moreover, any person 18 years old and above, with a sound mind, can prepare a will without the aid of a lawyer.


Two Main Kinds of Wills

1. Notarial Will

  • Requires at least three credible witnesses
  • Acknowledged by a notary public that it was made by the testator
  • … and many other legal requirements

2. Holographic Will

  • A will that’s entirely handwritten, dated and signed by the testator
  • … much simpler and with less legal formalities and requirements

Wills and Compulsory Heirs

Compulsory heirs are legitimate children or descendants, legitimate parents or ascendants, surviving spouse, and illegitimate children.

And it’s important to note that a testator cannot use a will to disinherit compulsory heirs without sufficient legal cause.

Usually, accepted reasons for disinheritance are proven attempts to take the testator’s life or receiving maltreatment from the compulsory heirs, among others.

Short to say, there is a lot of legal notes here so it’s always best to just consult a lawyer if this is an important concern for you.

Last Will Sample Template


I, [name of testator], Filipino citizen, of legal age, single/married to [name of spouse if any], born on the [date], a resident of [address], being of sound and disposing mind and memory, and not acting under undue influence or intimidation from anyone, do hereby declare and proclaim this instrument to be my Last Will and Testament, in English, the language which I am well conversant. And I hereby declare that:

I. I desire that should I die, it is my wish to be buried according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church and interred at our family mausoleum in Manila;

II. To my wife, [name], I give the following property to wit: [asset];

III. To my children, [name] and [name], I give the following properties to wit: [asset] in equal shares;

IV. To my brother, [name], I give the following properties to wit: [asset].

V. To my loyal assistant, [name], I give the following properties to wit: [asset].

VI. I hereby designate [name] as the executor and administrator of this Last Will and Testament, and in his incapacity, I name and designate [name] as his substitute.

VII. I hereby direct that the executor and administrator of this Last Will and Testament or his substitute need not present any bond;

VIII. I hereby revoke, set aside and annul any and all of my other will or testamentary dispositions that I have made, executed, signed or published preceding this Last Will and Testament.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my signature this [date] in [city], Philippines.

Signature of Testator over Printed Name



We, the undersigned attesting witnesses, do hereby affirm that the foregoing is the Last Will and Testament of [name of testator] and we certify that the testator executed this document while of sound mind and memory. That the testator signed this document in our presence, at the bottom of the last page and on the left hand margin of each and every page, and we, in turn, at the testator’s behest have witnessed and signed the same in every page thereof, on the left margin, in the presence of the testator and of the notary public, this [date] at [city].

[Name, address, and signature of witness #1]
[Name, address, and signature of witness #2]
[Name, address, and signature of witness #3, etc…]



BEFORE ME, Notary Public for and in the city of [city], personally appeared:

The testator, [name], with CTC No. [#] issued at [city] on [date];

Witness, [name], with CTC No. [#] issued at [city] on [date];

Witness, [name], with CTC No. [#] issued at [city] on [date];

Witness, [name], with CTC No. [#] issued at [city] on [date];

All known to me to be the same persons who executed the foregoing Will, the first as testator and the last three as instrumental witnesses, and they respectively acknowledged to me that the same as their own free act and deed.

This Last Will and Testament consists of [#] page/s, including the page on which this acknowledgment is written, and has been signed on the left margin of each and every page thereof by the testator and his witnesses, and sealed with my notarial seal.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand the day, year, and place above written.

Notary Public

Doc. No. [#];
Page No. [#];
Book No. [#];
Series of [#].

Other Interesting Notes and Important Details

  • Did you know that in the Philippines, a testator can put in his will that his surviving spouse cannot marry again?
  • A testator cannot require an heir to commit an illegal act in order to receive his inheritance.
  • All or any part of the testator’s remaining debts and obligations do not pass on to the heirs.
  • When a person dies without a will, inheritance distribution according to the laws of intestacy is followed.
  • In the Philippines, a notarial will with estate property worth not more than P100,000 would incur filing fees of about P3,500. This goes a bit higher as the total estate value increases.

This article is written for basic information purposes only and should not be taken as advice from a professional. For any concerns related to this topic, please talk to a lawyer or a legal consultant. Moreover, remember to always consult a lawyer before executing any legal document.

I would like to thank my lawyer friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, for providing the sample last will template above. If there are any information errors in this article, kindly leave a comment so that it can be corrected immediately.

Moreover, please forgive the use of the masculine gender in all the pronouns. This was done simply for brevity and clarity. Lastly, for proper formatting, view the sample template above on a desktop browser.

Enter your email address and be notified if there’s a new article on this site:

Photo credit: Cruccone


  1. Thank you for this article Sir. I have learned a lot from your site/ They are simple, straightforward, and very easy to understand. All of your articles are a great help to a lot of people. More power to you and God bless. Keep on writing excellent articles.

  2. Thanks for this article. I believe that no matter how small the properties are, formally or informally, the distribution to the heirs should always be planned.

  3. I was quickly going through my feed subscriptions when I saw this. Very interesting and informative. Thanks, Fitz! 🙂

  4. This is very simple yet very informative article for every Filipinos awareness. Because usually as highlighted above there are lots of argue over finances of the remaining wealth because there is no proper estate preservation. Just a heads up on estate preservation it is very important to consider the partnership of the government in our properties there are taxed that need to be paid after death of the property owner. If not paid immediately penalties would accumulate until the property will soon be owned by the government. This happens to lots of property owner who were unaware of the legalities. BTW, I’m not a lawyer, I gather his information from Wealth Academy Training I had.

  5. I understand that there could be differences in each country when preparing last will and testament, based on their culture and laws, it is very interesting to learn it from somebody living in the Philippines. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Thank you for this simple, realistic information you have posted.
    But may i ask something regarding same topic?
    Is it really required for the administrator to present or read among beneficiaries and provide a copy of the will to each beneficiary including minor illegitimate children?
    What if one did not do it, how could this minor illegitimate get a copy for his own?
    I’ve been searching an answer to this question of mine to no avail and i hope i could get it right from you this time.
    Thank you.

  7. Hi Jammed. Unfortunately, I don’t know the right answer to that too. Perhaps asking a lawyer on this could help.

    In any case, from a friend’s story – their family lawyer and last will administrator waited a year for illegitimate children to come forward before deciding to distribute the remaining assets among the present legal heirs.

    According to him, illegitimate children can no longer go after the parent’s assets if they don’t make themselves known after a year. Although they can still file an appeal after that period to which all involved parties and a judge will decide.

    Again, that’s just based on a friend’s story and should not be taken as a legal advise. But I hope it helped somehow with your concern.

  8. Thanx for your comment and sharing Fitz. 🙂
    For my concern, the child was acknowledged thru Authority to Use Father’s Surname form filed. And the testator has another acknowledged illegitimate child from another woman. And he has no legitimate children.
    However, there were some pieces of land given to both illegitimate children. But the testator still has another profiting property that can be considered as conjugal as the marriage was not annulled til his death.
    But how do think it is possible to get a copy of a will? For this minor child to really know what is owed for him.

  9. Hi,

    Just a heads up: your sample will’s attestation clause has to include a statement that the witnesses also signed in the testator’s and each other’s presence. Otherwise the will might be held void.

  10. What if the lawyer who notarized the will is a cousin of the deceased? The deceased disinherit the compulsory heirs without legal cause or he did not state it in his will. Will it affect the validity of the Will?

  11. Hologrpahic will – you stated entirely handwritten – therefore a typed will, dated and signed is and will nor be considered a holographic will. Is my understanding right?

  12. Many thanks Fitz for your great, practical, informative, and easy to understand blogs!!! More blessings and success in life to you.

  13. hi, if father has last will and testament done in US but the properties was in the Phils.? and by the way, he also included an ampon that he can stay in the house until he dies, but the ancestral home no longer existed, but a new house was built and not owned by the person who wrote the will. is this valid in the Phil law? and by the way, it has no red ribbon from the Phil Embassy

  14. Does the will has to be notorized in order to be legal? I leave in Canada & the will that I prepare does not need to be notarized as long as it is signed by witnesses. Is that also true in the Philippines? I need to do one for my sister who leaves in the Philippines. Thanks

  15. I see that a spouse cannot be disinherited without legal cause. Would abandonment be sufficient cause? Ie if the husband just walks out on family (is ofw) and there has been no contact or support for several years.

  16. Can insurance proceeds/claims be used to fund “gifts” that I want to leave behind to my friends for example? How can that happen if they are not allowable beneficiaries in my insurance?

  17. If I make the will, will my wife be allowed to sign too and start the will as “We…” instead of “I”. Can we include a provision in the will for an amount for a scholarship grant in a school? Can I appoint one of my children as an administrator? Thank you….

  18. Now I understand more about writing a will and how you can indicate a compulsory heir which can only be discredited if more treatments or plots of murder it’s proven. Personally, this is a complicated process that I will need to think about soon. I wonder how estate administration services would be able to ease my worries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.