A lot of the dilemmas that plague wills and estate plans in Woodinville, 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 huge 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 if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A good Woodinville, Washington wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
A significant 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 Woodinville, Washington
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 typically construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will usually 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 valid, it would have to be accompanied by all of the formalities (witnesses being the big one) of any other will.
If your state allows 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 Woodinville, Washington Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that are required for most wills to be valid, it is usually a good idea to have a Woodinville, Washington 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.