In Fort Smith, Arkansas, many of the complications 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 intricate trust arrangement.
Nonetheless, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A reliable Fort Smith, Arkansas wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
A substantial percentage of the problems that prevent wills from taking effect are caused by failing to follow the required formalities in will preparation. In most states, wills need to be witnessed and signed by at least two people who have no direct interest in the matter. They further have to include a clear written statement that the document is, in fact, the testator's will. It also has to be witnessed by at least two people. Witnesses cannot be anyone who has a direct interest in the will, which encompasses close relatives of the testator and anyone who's named in the will.
Holographic Wills in Fort Smith, Arkansas
In some states, testators are permitted to make "holographic wills." This is a will which the testator hand-writes, in his or her own handwriting. Such wills do not need to have any witnesses to be given effect.
Holographic wills are normally construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will typically 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.
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 necessary by the law of that state.
If they are permitted in your states, a holographic will can be a good option, in some cases. If you do not have a considerable amount of money and property that you want to pass on, and your devises are going to be very simple (regular gifts to just a few people), a holographic will can suffice. Nonetheless, you should seek the advice of a lawyer beforehand, and know that it is almost always a better option to have a will accompanied by all the required formalities.
How Can A Fort Smith, Arkansas Lawyer Help?
Because there are specific formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the advice of a Fort Smith, Arkansas 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.