In Atwater, California, many of the pitfalls 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 a complex trust arrangement.
But even if the will is relatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An experienced lawyer in Atwater, 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 valid. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more difficult. 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 vitally, 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 Atwater, California
If you need to make a will quickly, some states allow you to write a "holographic will." This is simply a will which the testator hand-writes. These types of wills don't need to be witnessed.
Assuming that a holographic will is valid in your state, a court will probably interpret it very liberally, acknowledging the fact that it probably wasn't written by a lawyer. This is to make it much easier to actually give your wishes effect.
But you should be aware that not all states allow holographic wills. In these states, you are still allowed 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 they are allowed in your states, a holographic will can be a good option, in some cases. If you do not have a large 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. However, 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 Atwater, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a good Atwater, California attorney help in making your will. Even if your will is quite simple, and you have all the formalities figured out, it's still easy to make mistakes without a good once-over by a professional.