Estate planning in the state of California may seem like an overwhelming process, but with the right estate planning attorney you can make sure you have a plan that suits your needs and wishes.
A will, or a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines who should receive your assets after you die. An executor is the person you name to be responsible to make sure the wishes laid out in your will, such as distributing assets to beneficiaries, are carried out. When you pass away, your estate goes through probate, and the probate court makes sure your assets are distributed according to your will. This sounds easy but actually the probate process in California is often lengthy, expensive, and stressful on your loved ones/beneficiaries.
Though a will is a commonly recognized document in estate planning, it’s no longer the most efficient estate planning tool to use to distribute assets, unless the estate is small.
It is best to consult with attorney Andrew Fesler as just having a will is probably not the best way to distribute your assets. See our page on Trusts versus Wills.
If you have a trust as part of your estate plan, you should have a pour-over will that, upon your death, transfers any assets that were not transferred to the trust during your lifetime into your trust.
Basic requirements to create a will in California include:
• Being at least 18 years old.
• Being of sound mind.
Being of sound mind means you have sufficient mental ability to make decisions and understand your actions at the time you are making your will.
• Needs to be in writing and have witnesses
In California, a will must be in writing to be considered legally valid and oral wills are invalid. It needs to be witnessed so if the will is ever challenged, the witnesses can be called upon to testify that they saw you sign the will of your own accord and that you understood that it reflected your wishes.
At the Law Office of Andrew Fesler, we are very familiar with the proper creation of a last will and testament. But we also know how a trust is often a better option. Consult with Attorney Fesler to create a properly prepared estate plan.
Our goal is to make sure your estate plan is designed properly and including a will can be a part of that. Contact the Law Offices of Andrew Fesler today.