Many of the issues that sometimes come up with wills in Orleans Parish, 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 convoluted 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 accomplished lawyer in Orleans Parish, Louisiana who specializes in wills and estate planning can help make sure that this doesn't happen to your will.
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 really intends the document to be a will. Furthermore, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Orleans Parish, Louisiana
In some states, testators are authorized 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.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is really 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.
But you should be aware that not all states authorize holographic wills. In these states, you are still authorized to hand write your will if you so desire, but they must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the law of that state.
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 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a brilliant Orleans Parish, Louisiana attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.