In Los Angeles County, 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 difficult or especially 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.
However even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more commonly than they need to. A seasoned Los Angeles County, California attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
A considerable percentage of the problems that prevent wills from taking effect are caused by failing to follow the required formalities in will preparation. In most states, wills need to be witnessed and signed by at least two people who have no direct interest in the matter. They further have to include a clear written statement that the document is, in fact, the testator's will. It also has to be witnessed by at least two people. Witnesses cannot be anyone who has a direct interest in the will, which encompasses close relatives of the testator and anyone who's named in the will.
Holographic Wills in Los Angeles County, California
In some states, you can make what is recognized 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 likely wasn't written by a lawyer. This is to make it much easier to really give your wishes effect.
You should, however, know that not all states authorize holographic wills. In such states, you can still hand write your will if you want, but all the formalities, such as witnesses, must be present.
If they are authorized in your states, a holographic will can be a good option, in some cases. If you do not have a massive 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. Nonetheless, 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 Los Angeles County, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a seasoned Los Angeles County, 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.