In Agoura Hills, California, 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 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 Agoura Hills, California 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 especially, 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 Agoura Hills, California
In some states, "holographic wills" are legitimate. 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 really 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 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 estate is fairly 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 Agoura Hills, California Lawyer Help?
Because there are particular formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the guidance of a Agoura Hills, California 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.