In Oskaloosa, 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 be warned: even a relatively simple will can encounter pitfalls in the drafting process, which can cause problems later on. An experienced Oskaloosa, Iowa lawyer will greatly reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust will preparation.

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 Oskaloosa, Iowa

In some states, testators are allowed 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.

Holographic wills are typically construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will usually 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, however, that holographic wills aren't recognized in many states. If you live in one of these states, you're still free to hand write your will, but, in order to be valid, it must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the laws of the state it is made in.

If your state allows 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 Oskaloosa, Iowa Lawyer Help?

Because there are certain formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the assistance of a Oskaloosa, 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.