In Lock Haven, Pennsylvania there are several problems that can rear their heads, derailing the process of drafting or executing a will. Frequent examples include ambiguities in the language of the will, leading to conflicts and challenges. Most of these issues can be staved off through quality drafting.
The process of drafting and executing a will can be very simple with the average estate which has only a moderate amount of assets held in only a few locations (a couple bank accounts, a house, maybe a stock portfolio). This is also true if the decedent simply wants to give their property to a few immediate family members, without setting up a complicated trust arrangement.
However, even with "simple" wills, there are a few frequent stumbling blocks that commonly make things far more difficult down the road. Luckily with proper will preparation, most of them are easy to avoid, with the help of a good attorney in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.
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 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 Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
In some states, "holographic wills" are valid. A holographic will is written by hand, in the testator's own handwriting. Such will do not need to have any witnesses to be valid.
Holographic wills are usually construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will normally 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 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 authorizes 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 Lock Haven, Pennsylvania Lawyer Help?
Because there are particular formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the help of a Lock Haven, Pennsylvania 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.