2 Ways Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help Ensure Your Will's Validity
You might think that drafting a last will and testament is something you can do on your own, and in a sense you would be correct in that assumption. So long as your will is signed by two witnesses, it is a legally-enforceable document. In fact, in some states which allow holographic wills you don't even need witnesses, and your will doesn't need to be notarized either.
Nonetheless, there are a host of reasons it is absolutely essential to have your will drafted by an estate attorney. Doing so will not only to protect your assets but also ensure that your will is accurately carried out according to your last wishes:
About Those Witnesses
While most states require two witnesses to sign your will, there are certain stipulations to this rule that, if not followed properly, could negate the legal validity of the document. It is imperative that the individuals signing the will not be recipients of any of the assets therein contained. This is one of the easiest ways to successfully contest the validity of a will.
In fact, there have been stories of loved ones who knowingly signed such documents as the recipients of only meager assets to later contest the will and go after more valuable belongings like homes and automobiles. Especially because it is regarded as something you can do on your own, writing a will is something for which you should always consult an attorney in order to avoid making these kinds of mistakes.
Other Things That Can Jeopardize Your Will
In addition to the laws that govern a will's witnesses, there are a few other situations that might threaten the legal validity of your will. Your state of mind may be called into question, even if you are in excellent physical and mental health, or someone may try to have your will nullified on the grounds that you were unduly influenced in the original drafting of the document.
In certain instances, the precise wording of the will may be what causes disgruntled family members to challenge the document's validity. An abundance of grammatical errors or misspelled words might be all that a greedy family member needs to argue that your state of mind was such that you didn't really understand what you were writing.
Of course, your will might also be challenged on the grounds that you were unduly influenced in the composition process. This essentially means that the individual challenging your will thinks that its content does not accurately reflect your true wishes. Whether or not this is true is often irrelevant if the individual can piece together a story that looks even the slightest bit logical.
For instance, if your will bequeaths the majority of your belongings to a single person who you have no relation to, even if that is your genuine desire, a court might conclude that the individual somehow coerced you into such a decision.
For this reason it is important to have a qualified attorney assist you during the drafting phase to ensure that its wording clearly reflects your last wishes regarding your assets and finances. And there are myriad other circumstances that may arise that estate attorneys are not only familiar with, but which they can ensure will not compromise the intent of your final wishes.
To learn more, contact a company like Beck Law Office PC LLO with any questions you have.