Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in Sherborn, Massachusetts, 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.
Generally, the larger your estate, and the more separate devises you want to make, the more complex the process of drafting your will is going to be. For most people, however, the process can be fairly simple.
Nonetheless, even with "simple" wills, there are a few common stumbling blocks that often make things far more difficult down the road. Thankfully with proper will preparation, most of them are easy to avoid, with the help of a good attorney in Sherborn, Massachusetts.
A significant percentage of the problems that prevent wills from taking effect are caused by failing to follow the required formalities in will preparation. In most states, wills need to be witnessed and signed by at least two people who have no direct interest in the matter. They further have to include a clear written statement that the document is, in fact, the testator's will. It also has to be witnessed by at least two people. Witnesses cannot be anyone who has a direct interest in the will, which encompasses close relatives of the testator and anyone who's named in the will.
Holographic Wills in Sherborn, Massachusetts
In some states, "holographic wills" are legitimate. 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 that not all states recognize holographic wills. Of course, you could still handwrite your will if you desire; but to be legitimate, it would have to be accompanied by all of the formalities (witnesses being the big one) of any other will.
If your state allows them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For instance, 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. Nonetheless, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Sherborn, Massachusetts Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a Sherborn, Massachusetts 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.