Most of the problems that can pop up with wills in Kirkwood, Missouri, like challenges to the will's validity, can be avoided if the will is well-drafted in the first place.
If your estate does not have a massive amount of assets, your assets are limited to cash and personal belongings, and you wish to leave all your property to your immediate family and friends, the process of drafting your will is likely to be fairly simple.
But even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more frequently than they need to. A knowledgeable Kirkwood, Missouri attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
With most wills, certain formalities have to be followed in the drafting process or will preparation, or else the will might not be valid. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more difficult. 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 vitally, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and truly intends the document to be a will. Additionally, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Kirkwood, 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.
Holographic wills are normally construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will typically 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 valid, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) needed for any other will.
If your state permits them, a holographic will might be a good way to go in some cases. For example, 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. However, even in cases like this, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the help of a lawyer.
How Can A Kirkwood, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is typically a good idea to have a Kirkwood, Missouri 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.