Most of the issues that can pop up with wills in St. Louis, 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 large 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.
However even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more commonly than they need to. A seasoned St. Louis, Missouri attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
A considerable 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 further 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 encompasses close relatives of the testator and anyone who's named in the will.
Holographic Wills in St. Louis, Missouri
In some states, you can make what is recognized 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 likely wasn't written by a lawyer. This is to make it much easier to really 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 necessary by the laws of the state it is made in.
If your state authorizes 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 St. Louis, Missouri Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a seasoned St. Louis, 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.