A lot of the pitfalls that plague wills and estate plans in Parkersburg, West 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.
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 if the will is comparatively simple, some problems which are very easy to avoid can still complicate the process. A reliable Parkersburg, West Virginia wills and trusts lawyer can help you avoid these problems.
Many problems with wills are due to some of the standard formalities not being followed. The formalities incorporated in drafting and executing a will are not particularly convoluted, but they must be scrupulously followed. Otherwise, the will might not be given effect. In most states, the will must include some clear statement that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament of the person making it. It typically must also be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who do not have any stake in the will.
Holographic Wills in Parkersburg, West Virginia
In some states, "holographic wills" are legitimate. 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.
You should know, however, that holographic wills aren't recognized in many states. If you live in one of these states, you're still free to hand write your will, but, in order to be valid, it must be accompanied by all the formalities necessary by the laws of the state it is made in.
If your state permits 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 Parkersburg, West Virginia Lawyer Help?
Because of the formalities required in drafting wills, it's never a bad idea to have a reliable Parkersburg, West Virginia attorney help in making your will. Even if your will is quite simple, and you have all the formalities figured out, it's still easy to make mistakes without a good once-over by a professional.