Most of the problems that can pop up with wills in St. Joseph, 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 huge 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 often than they need to. A good St. Joseph, Missouri attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
A significant percentage of the problems that prevent wills from taking effect are caused by failing to follow the required formalities in will preparation. In most states, wills need to be witnessed and signed by at least two people who have no direct interest in the matter. They also have to include a clear written statement that the document is, in fact, the testator's will. It also has to be witnessed by at least two people. Witnesses cannot be anyone who has a direct interest in the will, which includes close relatives of the testator and anyone who's named in the will.
Holographic Wills in St. Joseph, Missouri
In some states, you can make what is known 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.
Assuming that a holographic will is valid in your state, a court will probably interpret it very liberally, acknowledging the fact that it probably wasn't written by a lawyer. This is to make it much easier to actually give your wishes effect.
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 allows 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 St. Joseph, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because there are certain formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the assistance of a St. Joseph, Missouri attorney in drafting your will. Even if your will is going to be very simple, and you have the formalities all figured out, mistakes can be made.