In Prescott, Arizona, 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 complicated trust arrangement.
But even if the will is comparatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An accomplished lawyer in Prescott, Arizona who specializes in wills and estate planning can help make sure that this doesn't happen to your will.
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 notably, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and really intends the document to be a will. Furthermore, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Prescott, Arizona
In some states, testators are authorized 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 usually construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will normally 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 authorize holographic wills. In these states, you are still authorized 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 your state recognizes them, a holographic will might be a good option if you have a very small estate, and wish to make very simple devises. Nonetheless, it is never a bad idea to at least have an attorney review your will for completeness and clarity, even if you aren't having the attorney draft it from scratch.
How Can A Prescott, Arizona Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a seasoned Prescott, Arizona attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.