In Fairfield, Iowa, 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.

If your estate doesn't include a lot of money and property, and you only want to leave your assets to a few people, making a will can be pretty simple.

But even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more commonly than they need to. A brilliant Fairfield, Iowa attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.

With most wills, certain formalities have to be followed in the drafting process or will preparation, or else the will might not be valid. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more difficult. The requirements for a will to be valid are pretty simple, but it's still possible to make mistakes in attempting to follow them. Most vitally, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and really intends the document to be a will. Furthermore, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.

Holographic Wills in Fairfield, Iowa

In some states, testators are authorized to make "holographic wills." This is a will which the testator hand-writes, in his or her own handwriting. Such wills do not need to have any witnesses to be given effect.

If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is really being said, and resolve ambiguities. Because holographic wills are not always written under ideal conditions, they have to be interpreted very liberally, so they can be given effect and not fail for technical reasons.

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 valid, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) needed for 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 Fairfield, Iowa Lawyer Help?

Because there are particular formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the help of a Fairfield, Iowa attorney in drafting your will. Even if your will is going to be very simple, and you have the formalities all figured out, mistakes can be made.