Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in Winthrop, 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.
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 even if the will is comparatively simple, some preventable problems can derail the process. An experienced lawyer in Winthrop, Maine 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 cautiously, because if they have any direct interest in the will, they won't count as valid witnesses.
Holographic Wills in Winthrop, Maine
In some states, testators are allowed 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 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, however, know that not all states allow holographic wills. In such states, you can still hand write your will if you want, but all the formalities, such as witnesses, must be present.
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 Winthrop, Maine Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a reputable Winthrop, Maine attorney help in making your will. Even if your will is quite simple, and you have all the formalities figured out, it's still easy to make mistakes without a good once-over by a professional.