Many of the dilemmas that sometimes come up with wills in California, Missouri, 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 include a lot of money and property, and you only want to leave your assets to a few people, making a will can be pretty simple.

However, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A knowledgeable California, Missouri wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.

Many problems with wills can be caused by failing to follow the proper formalities. These requirements are not very intricate, but they need to be followed scrupulously. If not, the will might be found to be invalid. In almost every state, the will must be witnessed and signed by two disinterested parties, and must include a clear statement that the document is, in fact, a last will and testament.

Holographic Wills in California, Missouri

In some states, testators are permitted 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 truly 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 permit 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 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 California, Missouri Lawyer Help?

Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a knowledgeable California, Missouri 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.