In Santa Monica, 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 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 Santa Monica, California wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Most of the problems that plague wills stem from failure on the part of the drafter to comply with the required formalities. These requirements aren't terribly complex, 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 Santa Monica, 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, assuming they're recognized, are interpreted very broadly. This gives them the best possible chance of actually being implemented, since they will rarely be invalidated on technicalities.
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 complex, 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 Santa Monica, 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 Santa Monica, 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.