Most people know that a will is a legal document that outlines how your assets are to be divided and distributed when you pass away. A will is the most widely utilized and well-known aspect of estate planning and is vital to have. Without a will, the state gets to decide who gets your assets in the event of your death. Even though most people are familiar with how important this legal document is, nearly two-thirds of all Americans don’t have a will in place. Making a will can be uncomfortable because it means addressing your mortality, but having your will in place is a crucial part of estate planning.
Who should have a will?
In a nutshell, everyone. You don’t need to wait until you have a significant amount of assets, or until you retire. Wills can (and should) be updated regularly to reflect your current place in life. Events that would result in changing your will can include getting married, getting divorced, having children, or gaining more assets. For people who have minor children, it is especially important to make a will so you can determine who will receive custody of the children in the untimely event that both guardians pass away. This requires having some difficult conversations but will provide everyone with peace of mind knowing that there are steps in place that will ensure the welfare of the children. In California, unless you make a will that states otherwise, your spouse will receive all of your community property as well as a portion of your separate property, and your children will receive the other portion of your separate property. If you don’t have a spouse or any children, then your property will be distributed amongst your relatives. If no relatives can be located, then your property will go to the State.
What should be included in a will?
In addition to the custody of children and the division of financial assets, a will can outline who will receive any and every item in your possession. This can include pets, vehicles, furniture, and pictures. Your will can also dictate if your belongings will be left directly to your heirs or be left to them via a trust. By placing their inheritance into a trust, you can lay out specific rules and provisions for how they use or spend it. You will also determine who will be the executor of your will. This person will act as the administrator of your will and should be someone you trust.
Call LPEP Law today.
At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we understand the importance of having a skilled attorney draft your will. We want to give you peace of mind knowing that all of your wishes are documented in a document that will hold up in court, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind. Call us today at 408-553-0801 or fill out our online form here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
Disclaimer: this article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.