Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in District Heights, Maryland, 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.
But be warned: even a comparatively simple will can encounter delays in the drafting process, which can cause problems later on. An experienced District Heights, Maryland lawyer will considerably reduce the chances of this happening, if they help you in the process of robust will preparation.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the standard formalities not being followed. The formalities incorporated in drafting and executing a will are not particularly convoluted, but they must be scrupulously followed. Otherwise, the will might not be given effect. In most states, the will must include some clear statement that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament of the person making it. It usually must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in District Heights, Maryland
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.
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 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 legitimate, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) required for 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 District Heights, Maryland Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a District Heights, Maryland 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.