In Decatur, Alabama, many of the dilemmas 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 procedure 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 comparatively simple will can encounter delays in the drafting process, which can cause problems later on. An experienced Decatur, Alabama lawyer will considerably reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust will preparation.
With most wills, certain formalities have to be followed in the drafting process or will preparation, or else the will might not be legitimate. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more challenging. The requirements for a will to be valid are pretty simple, but it's still possible to make mistakes in attempting to follow them. Most especially, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and actually intends the document to be a will. Also, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Decatur, Alabama
In some (but definitely not all) states, "holographic wills" can sometimes be treated as valid wills. A holographic will is just a will that is written exclusively in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
Holographic wills are typically construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will usually look at the common definition of words, and use other common-sense principles when it comes to interpreting a holographic will. This is necessary to avoid conflicts, and increase the chances that the testator's wishes are honored.
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 legitimate, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) required for any other will.
If your state allows them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For instance, 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. Nonetheless, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Decatur, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a Decatur, Alabama attorney help you make it, or at least go over it after you have written it, to make sure there aren't any problems with it.