In Burlingame, 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.
Drafting a will doesn't need to be a complicated or particularly expensive process. If you have a small to moderate amount of assets (limited to a home, a car, and a few bank/investment accounts), and don't need to set up trusts or anything similar, you can probably have a will written in just a couple days, for a relatively small fee.
But even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more often than they need to. A good Burlingame, California attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the required formalities not being followed. The formalities involved in drafting and executing a will are not particularly complicated, but they must be scrupulously followed. Otherwise, the will might not be given effect. In most states, the will must include some clear statement that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament of the person making it. It usually must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Burlingame, California
In some states, you can make what is known as a "holographic will." This is simply a will which is handwritten, in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
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.
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.
If your estate is relatively small, and the devises you wish to make aren't very difficult, 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 Burlingame, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a Burlingame, California attorney help you make it, or at least go over it after you have written it, to make sure there aren't any problems with it.