In Ketchikan, Alaska, many of the issues that sometimes come with a will, such as would-be beneficiaries challenging its validity, or devises which don't make it clear who gets what (resulting in costly and time-consuming litigation) can be avoided if the will is well-drafted in the first place.
The process of drafting and executing a will can be very simple with the average estate which has only a moderate amount of assets held in only a few locations (a couple bank accounts, a house, maybe a stock portfolio). This is also true if the decedent simply wants to give their property to a few immediate family members, without setting up a complex trust arrangement.
But be warned: even a relatively simple will can encounter pitfalls in the drafting process, which can cause problems later on. An experienced Ketchikan, Alaska lawyer will greatly reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust will preparation.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the required formalities not being followed. The formalities involved in drafting and executing a will are not particularly complicated, but they must be scrupulously followed. Otherwise, the will might not be given effect. In most states, the will must include some clear statement that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament of the person making it. It usually must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Ketchikan, Alaska
In some states, you can make what is known as a "holographic will." This is simply a will which is handwritten, in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is actually being said, and resolve ambiguities. Because holographic wills are not always written under ideal conditions, they have to be interpreted very liberally, so they can be given effect and not fail for technical reasons.
You should be aware that not all states recognize holographic wills. In such states, you can of course still handwrite your will if you want. But for the will to be valid, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) needed for any other will.
If your state allows them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For example, if you don't have an unusually large amount of money, and simply want to leave your assets to close family members, or even to a single person (such as a spouse), it probably wouldn't be a problem. However, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Ketchikan, Alaska Lawyer Help?
Because there are certain formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the assistance of a Ketchikan, Alaska attorney in drafting your will. Even if your will is going to be very simple, and you have the formalities all figured out, mistakes can be made.