In Clearlake, California, many of the problems 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 intricate 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 frequently than they need to. A knowledgeable Clearlake, 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 typically must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Clearlake, California
In some (but certainly not all) states, "holographic wills" can sometimes be treated as valid wills. A holographic will is just a will that is written entirely in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
Holographic wills are normally construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will typically 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.
You should be aware that not all states recognize holographic wills. In such states, you can of course still handwrite your will if you want. But for the will to be valid, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) needed for any other will.
If your state permits them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For example, if you don't have an unusually large amount of money, and simply want to leave your assets to close family members, or even to a single person (such as a spouse), it probably wouldn't be a problem. However, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Clearlake, California Lawyer Help?
Because there are specific formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the help of a Clearlake, 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.