Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in Madison, 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 huge 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 experienced Madison, Illinois lawyer will greatly reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust 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 actually intends the document to be a will. Also, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Madison, Illinois
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 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 Madison, Illinois 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 Madison, Illinois 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.