Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in Highland Park, Illinois, such as contests brought by would-be beneficiaries, or devises which aren't clear on what they mean, can be avoided if the will is properly drafted in the first place.
If your estate does not have a massive amount of assets, your assets are limited to cash and personal belongings, and you wish to leave all your property to your immediate family and friends, the process of drafting your will is likely to be fairly simple.
But be warned: even a relatively simple will can encounter pitfalls in the drafting process, which can cause problems later on. An efficient Highland Park, Illinois lawyer will greatly reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust will preparation.
Most of the pitfalls that plague wills stem from failure on the part of the drafter to comply with the required formalities. These requirements aren't terribly difficult, but they have to be followed to the letter if a will is to be valid. Typically, 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 Highland Park, Illinois
In some states, you can make what is identified as a "holographic will." This is simply a will which is handwritten, in the testator's own handwriting. They do not need to be witnessed in order to be valid.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is truly 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 state recognizes them, a holographic will might be a reasonable option if you have a very small estate, and wish to make very simple devises. However, it is never a bad idea to at least have an attorney review your will for completeness and clarity, even if you aren't having the attorney draft it from scratch.
How Can A Highland Park, Illinois Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is typically a good idea to have a Highland Park, Illinois 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.