In Bakersfield, 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 intricate trust arrangement.
But even if the will is relatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An efficient lawyer in Bakersfield, 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 truly intends the document to be a will. Additionally, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Bakersfield, California
If you need to make a will quickly, some states permit 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.
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.
You should know that not all states recognize holographic wills. Of course, you could still handwrite your will if you desire; but to be valid, it would have to be accompanied by all of the formalities (witnesses being the big one) of any other will.
Making a holographic will is rarely the ideal option. But it's sometimes the only option. If you find yourself suddenly needing to make a will, a holographic will is certainly an option, if they're recognized in your state. If possible, though, you should still speak with an attorney, who can review your holographic will and suggest any fixes that will make it easier to meet your goals.
How Can A Bakersfield, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a knowledgeable Bakersfield, California attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.