A will is a formal legal document that lists your wishes, assets and how you want them shared at death. Due to the complexity of the state and federal laws governing wills, drafting your own is not a good idea. Such a will is prone to many mistakes, which may lead to the courts’ invalidation. That’s why you need the input of a family attorney in your entire estate planning process.
Who Needs a Will?
A will is not a preserve of the filthy rich, old, or sick people. According to California law, every adult should have a will. In the case of an intestate, the courts cannot know what your wishes were. So, the courts will share your assets based on established law.
In such a case, there is a danger of the deserving beneficiary missing out altogether.
Heath Baker is an experienced lawyer who will help you write a valid will for your assets.
Types of Wills
Simple will. A simple will outlines your assets and how you want them distributed upon death. It has an appointed executor responsible for all administrative duties such as closing accounts, paying debts and handing over the assets to beneficiaries.
You can also name your preferred minor children’s guardians and what they should do with them. This is the most popular type of will, despite having many shortcomings
Joint will: This type of will is common among couples. It involves signing different wills as one by people who want to name each other as sole beneficiaries. With a joint will, even after the death of one party, the survivor is constrained in their ability to dispose of the property. And despite them being a single document, the courts treat them as different wills upon admission to probate.
Testamentary trust wills: They appoint a trustee to act on your behalf when you are dead. The trustee is responsible for setting up and managing trust accounts from which the beneficiaries can access them.
Trust wills are most popular where the beneficiaries are still minors. They contain the names of the beneficiaries and instructions on when and how to receive their benefits.
The living will: These wills do not discuss what happens to your property when you are dead; they are about your medical wishes in the events leading up to your death in case you are incapacitated. They state your preferred treatments and the name of your healthcare attorney who can make the decisions for you. This is the only of these documents to work when you are alive.
Pour over: These are blanket wills that direct all benefits to a single trust instead of individual distribution. They are meant to account for all the assets, even the ones not included in the trust upon your passing.
Benefits of a will
- You can state in figures who gets how much of what.
- You are free to exempt people you don’t want to have a share in your properties.
- You can choose a guardian for your minor children. If you die without naming one, the courts will decide for you, and their pick may not be your preference.
- A will make it easy for the beneficiaries to access your assets and enjoy the benefits.
Riverside Family Law Attorney
If you haven’t written your will, contact our office to start the journey today. We’re experienced in California family law and will help you draft a standard will that meets all the legal requirements. Don’t wait for your loved ones to experience double pain fighting for your property as they grieve your death.