In Keokuk, Iowa, many of the pitfalls 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 frequently than they need to. A knowledgeable Keokuk, 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 importantly, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and truly intends the document to be a will. Additionally, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Keokuk, Iowa
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 are normally construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will typically 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 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 state permits them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For example, if you don't have an unusually large amount of money, and simply want to leave your assets to close family members, or even to a single person (such as a spouse), it probably wouldn't be a problem. However, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Keokuk, Iowa Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is typically a good idea to have a Keokuk, Iowa 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.