Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in Lafayette, Louisiana, 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.
Drafting a will doesn't need to be a complicated or particularly expensive process. If you have a small to moderate amount of assets (limited to a home, a car, and a few bank/investment accounts), and don't need to set up trusts or anything similar, you can probably have a will written in just a couple days, for a relatively small fee.
But even if the will is relatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An experienced lawyer in Lafayette, Louisiana who specializes in wills and estate planning can help make sure that this doesn't happen to your will.
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. 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 Lafayette, Louisiana
In some states, you can make what is known 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 actually 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 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.
Making a holographic will is rarely the ideal option. But it's sometimes the only option. If you find yourself suddenly needing to make a will, a holographic will is certainly an option, if they're recognized in your state. If possible, though, you should still consult with an attorney, who can review your holographic will and suggest any fixes that will make it easier to meet your goals.
How Can A Lafayette, Louisiana Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that must accompany most wills, it might be prudent to have a Lafayette, Louisiana attorney help you draft it.