In Orinda, California, many of the issues 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 perplexing 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.
Nonetheless, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A reputable Orinda, California wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the standard formalities not being followed. The formalities incorporated in drafting and executing a will are not particularly convoluted, 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 Orinda, California
In some (but definitely not all) states, "holographic wills" can sometimes be treated as valid wills. A holographic will is just a will that is written exclusively in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
Holographic wills are typically construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will usually 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 legitimate, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) required for any other will.
If your state recognizes them, a holographic will might be a good option if you have a very small estate, and wish to make very simple devises. Nonetheless, it is never a bad idea to at least have an attorney review your will for completeness and clarity, even if you aren't having the attorney draft it from scratch.
How Can A Orinda, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a reputable Orinda, California attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.