A lot of the issues that plague wills and estate plans in Madison, Wisconsin, 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.
The procedure 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 an intricate trust arrangement.
Nonetheless, even with "simple" wills, there are a few prevalent stumbling blocks that frequently make things far more difficult down the road. Fortunately with proper will preparation, most of them are easy to avoid, with the help of a good attorney in Madison, Wisconsin.
With most wills, certain formalities have to be followed in the drafting process or will preparation, or else the will might not be legitimate. In general, these formalities exist with the goal of making fraud more challenging. The requirements for a will to be valid are pretty simple, but it's still possible to make mistakes in attempting to follow them. Most especially, you should know that a will must contain a provision stating that the person making it is of sound mind, and truly intends the document to be a will. Additionally, the laws of most states require that wills be witnessed and signed by at least 2 neutral parties.
Holographic Wills in Madison, Wisconsin
If you need to make a will quickly, some states permit you to write a "holographic will." This is simply a will which the testator hand-writes. These types of wills don't need to be witnessed.
If holographic wills are valid in your state, courts will, as with any will, have to figure out what is truly 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 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.
Making a holographic will is rarely the ideal option. But it's occasionally the only option. If you find yourself suddenly needing to make a will, a holographic will is definitely an option, if they're recognized in your state. If possible, though, you should still speak with an attorney, who can review your holographic will and suggest any fixes that will make it simpler to meet your goals.
How Can A Madison, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities that must accompany most wills, it might be advisable to have a Madison, Wisconsin attorney help you draft it.