A lot of the pitfalls that plague wills and estate plans in Mercer Island, Washington, 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.
Nonetheless, even if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A seasoned Mercer Island, Washington wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Many problems with wills can be caused by failing to follow the required formalities. These requirements are not very complicated, but they need to be followed scrupulously. If not, the will might be found to be invalid. In almost every state, the will must be witnessed and signed by two disinterested parties, and must include a clear statement that the document is, in fact, a last will and testament.
Holographic Wills in Mercer Island, Washington
In some states, testators are authorized to make "holographic wills." This is a will which the testator hand-writes, in his or her own handwriting. Such wills do not need to have any witnesses to be given effect.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is really being said, and resolve ambiguities. Because holographic wills are not always written under ideal conditions, they have to be interpreted very liberally, so they can be given effect and not fail for technical reasons.
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 legitimate, it has to be accompanied by all the formalities (including witnesses) required for any other will.
If your estate is fairly small, and the devises you wish to make aren't very difficult, a holographic will can be a good option if they're valid in your state. Of course, it's never a bad idea to make a will with the assistance of a lawyer.
How Can A Mercer Island, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because there are particular formalities which must be followed in drafting wills, it's always a good idea to seek the guidance of a Mercer Island, Washington 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.