In Opelika, Alabama, 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 an intricate trust arrangement.
However, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A knowledgeable Opelika, Alabama wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
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 typically must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Opelika, Alabama
In some states, "holographic wills" are valid. A holographic will is written by hand, in the testator's own handwriting. Such will do not need to have any witnesses to be valid.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is truly 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.
But you should be aware that not all states permit holographic wills. In these states, you are still permitted to hand write your will if you so desire, but they must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the law of that state.
If your estate is relatively small, and the devises you wish to make aren't very confusing, a holographic will can be a good option if they're valid in your state. Of course, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the assistance of a lawyer.
How Can A Opelika, Alabama Lawyer Help?
Because there are specific formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the help of an Opelika, Alabama 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.