In Woodlake, California, many of the dilemmas 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 convoluted 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 if the will is relatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An accomplished lawyer in Woodlake, California who specializes in wills and estate planning can help make sure that this doesn't happen to your will.
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 normally must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Woodlake, California
In some states, "holographic wills" are valid. A holographic will is written by hand, in the testator's own handwriting. Such will do not need to have any witnesses to be valid.
Holographic wills are usually construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will normally 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.
But you should be aware that not all states authorize holographic wills. In these states, you are still authorized to hand write your will if you so desire, but they must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the law of that state.
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. 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 Woodlake, California Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a brilliant Woodlake, 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.