A lot of the issues that plague wills and estate plans in Onalaska, 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 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 an intricate trust arrangement.
However, 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 Onalaska, Wisconsin.
A substantial 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 Onalaska, Wisconsin
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 normally construed very broadly. Knowing that it was not written by an expert, a court will typically 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.
But you should be aware that not all states permit holographic wills. In these states, you are still permitted to hand write your will if you so desire, but they must be accompanied by all the formalities required by the law of that state.
Making a holographic will is rarely the ideal option. But it's sometimes the only option. If you find yourself suddenly needing to make a will, a holographic will is certainly 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 easier to meet your goals.
How Can A Onalaska, Wisconsin Lawyer Help?
Because of the various required formalities that accompany a will, it's not a bad idea to have a knowledgeable Onalaska, Wisconsin attorney help you draft your will, even if it is relatively simple.