By Dave Ramsey More Content Now

Dear Dave,

When it comes to making a will, would it suffice to sit down and write it all out on a piece of paper, then have it notarized?

ó Joyce

Dear Joyce,

I would never advise someone to write their own will, unless, of course, theyíre an attorney in that state. Laws can vary from state to state, and some states may not look upon a document like that as being official under law. Some even require witnesses, and a notary might not be good enough.

If youíre trying to save money by doing it this way, I would strongly urge you to look at involving a lawyer as an investment. In most cases, having a reputable lawyer draw up a legally correct, state-specific will doesnít cost a lot of money. At the very least, go online to USLegalForms.com. They have all kinds of state-specific legal forms, including wills.

Your last will and testament is one of the most important legal documents youíll ever be part of. Please donít try to do this yourself, Joyce. Iíve run into so many families who, in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one, were handed a handwritten piece of paper that wouldnít hold up in court. That kind of thing just adds more stress to an already heartbreaking situation.

óDave

Not ready for a house

Dear Dave,

Iím thinking about getting a secured credit card to help rebuild my credit score, because Iíd like to buy a house. Do you think this is a good start toward getting my credit back on track and taking control of my finances? I make $50,000 a year, and I have $3,500 in debt and $2,100 in savings.

ó Maria

Dear Maria,

No, getting a secured credit card is not a good idea. Let me tell you a couple of things. Number one, your income is your most powerful wealth building tool. If you donít have any payments, you have the ability to build wealth and be generous. When you have debt, all you do is send money out the door to make payments. So, being in debt is a guaranteed way to stay broke.

Number two, you can get a home mortgage with no credit score through a manual underwriting. Just make sure you have a good, long history of paying other things, like your rent and utilities on time. You would also need to have all your debts paid off completely, and the accounts closed for at least six months.

I want you to become debt-free before you buy a home, Maria. I also want you to save an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses and a down payment before you buy a home. Buying a house when youíre broke and in debt is a really bad idea.

óDave†††

ó Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 12 million listeners each week on 575 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.