What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding distribution of your assets at your death.
A will may also appoint a guardian for your minor children.
Wills do have limitations. In particular, the beneficiary designations on financial accounts, insurance policies and other assets take precedence over wills, so it’s important to make sure your beneficiary designations are up to date and reflect your wishes.
Even if you have a Trust, you still need a Will to deal with assets that have been left out of the Living Trust (for example, because you made a mistake and forgot to transfer them into the Trust). This kind of Will is called a “Pour-Over Will.” The assets in your name outside the Trust probably will have to be probated, but after the probate, those assets will be “poured over” and added to the Living Trust.
Types of Wills
Self-Proving Will: A self-proving will is the traditional type of will where it is signed in the presence of witnesses.
Holographic Will: A holographic will is a will written in the testator’s own handwriting.
What Happens If I Don’t Have a Will?
If you die without a will, California Law will determine how your assets are distributed. Most of the time , your wishes will not be the same as the default distributions under California law. The Orange County Probate Court will administer the distribution of your assets pursuant to California law. This can cause severe emotional and financial strain on your spouse, your children or other loved ones, especially if you provided support to these individuals.
Experienced Trusts & Wills Attorney in Orange County, CA
Each Orange County Wills attorney at Modern Wealth Law focuses exclusively in the area of estate planning. Modern Wealth Law attorneys prepare customized Wills and other estate planning documents for clients with a wide range of backgrounds, assets and goals. To that end, Modern Wealth Law believes in drafting Wills that you can understand. We will explain the complexities of the estate and gift tax laws and provide you with explanations and instructions to assist you in the continued administration of your Will. In short, Modern Wealth Law has the experience and expertise to craft wills and trusts of all levels of sophistication without being cost-prohibitive.
If you are interested in preparing a will for yourself or a loved one, contact our offices at Modern Wealth Law.