Many of the pitfalls that sometimes come up with wills in St. Johns, Michigan, 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.
If your estate doesn't contain a lot of money and property, and you only want to leave your assets to a few individuals, making a will can be pretty 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 St. Johns, Michigan.
With most wills, certain formalities have to be followed in the drafting process or will preparation, or else the will might not be legitimate. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more challenging. 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 especially, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and actually intends the document to be a will. Also, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in St. Johns, Michigan
If you need to make a will quickly, some states allow you to write a "holographic will." This is simply a will which the testator hand-writes. These types of wills don't need to be witnessed.
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 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 estate is fairly small, and the devises you wish to make aren't very difficult, a holographic will can be a good option if they're valid in your state. Of course, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the assistance of a lawyer.
How Can A St. Johns, Michigan Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a St. Johns, Michigan 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.