Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in South Berwick, Maine, 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.
Typically, 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 even if the will is relatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An accomplished lawyer in South Berwick, Maine who specializes in wills and estate planning can help make sure that this doesn't happen to your will.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the required formalities not being followed. The formalities involved in drafting and executing a will are not particularly complicated, 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 normally must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in South Berwick, Maine
In some states, you can make what is recognized 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 usually construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will normally 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 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 South Berwick, Maine Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a brilliant South Berwick, Maine attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.