A lot of the issues that plague wills and estate plans in Newport News, Virginia, such as contests by beneficiaries who think they got the short end, could have been avoided if the will had been better-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 Newport News, Virginia 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 Newport News, Virginia
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.
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 that not all states recognize holographic wills. Of course, you could still handwrite your will if you desire; but to be legitimate, it would have to be accompanied by all of the formalities (witnesses being the big one) of any other will.
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 Newport News, Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is normally a good idea to have a Newport News, Virginia 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.