In San Francisco, 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 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.
However, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A good San Francisco, California wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Most of the issues that plague wills stem from failure on the part of the drafter to comply with the required formalities. These requirements aren't terribly confusing, but they have to be followed to the letter if a will is to be valid. Usually, wills have to be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people, and it must include a clear statement that the document is, in fact, a will. You should choose the witnesses carefully, because if they have any direct interest in the will, they won't count as valid witnesses.
Holographic Wills in San Francisco, 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.
A holographic will, where they are allowed, will generally be interpreted liberally, to give effect to the testator's intent if at all possible.
You should, however, know that not all states allow 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 allowed in your states, a holographic will can be a good option, in some cases. If you do not have a large 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. However, 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 San Francisco, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a good San Francisco, 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.