Most of the problems that can pop up with wills in Syracuse, New York, like challenges to the will's validity, can be avoided if the will is well-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.
But even with "simple" wills, some easily-avoidable problems come up more frequently than they need to. A knowledgeable Syracuse, New York attorney can help you avoid these problems with careful will preparation.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the required formalities not being followed. The formalities involved in drafting and executing a will are not particularly complicated, but they must be scrupulously followed. Otherwise, the will might not be given effect. In most states, the will must include some clear statement that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament of the person making it. It typically must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Syracuse, New York
In some states, you can make what is identified 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.
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 they are permitted in your states, a holographic will can be a good option, in some cases. If you do not have a considerable amount of money and property that you want to pass on, and your devises are going to be very simple (regular gifts to just a few people), a holographic will can suffice. However, you should seek the advice of a lawyer beforehand, and know that it is almost always a better option to have a will accompanied by all the required formalities.
How Can A Syracuse, New York Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a knowledgeable Syracuse, New York attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.