If you are like many people, you may not have prioritized creating your will. You may have put this task off because you think you have plenty of time. You may also believe you don’t have enough assets to warrant having a will or other estate planning documents. Whatever the circumstance, it’s important to ask: Do I need a California will?
Why Would I Need a California Will?
Your California will is vital to ensuring that your final wishes are clearly represented and can be carried out. There are multiple reasons to have a California will.
First, this essential device allows you legally direct where your assets and property will go after you die. Without a will, your estate will pass according to law rather than to your chosen heirs. Even then, only certain people will be able to inherit from your estate regardless of their emotional connection to you.
Second, without a will, your loved ones may also have to endure a long probate case before your assets can be distributed.
Third, if you have minor children, your will is the device you will use to nominate potential guardians. Without one, the family court, rather than you, may have to select guardians for your children after you die.
Fourth, your will allows you to select a personal representative to administer your estate. If you don’t have a will, the probate court will appoint someone it deems appropriate to serve in this important role.
What if I Have a Simple Estate?
People often make the mistake of believing that they have too simple of an estate to require a will. In many cases, what someone believes to be “simple” is more complex than meets the eye. Even if you don’t believe you have a large estate, you still need a will. Having this essential document can help you make sure your property ends up with the people you want rather than what the law dictates. Additionally, having your will in place can help create a less stressful way for your loved ones to administer and manage your estate. Without a California will, your loved ones will probably have to wait through a longer probate process.
You Need a Will to Designate a Personal Representative
Your personal representative is the individual who will be appointed to administer your estate after you die. Estate administration is complicated and requires that the personal representative complete numerous tasks to ensure your affairs are in order. Therefore, you want to select someone you trust and believe to be capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of this role.
You may have someone in mind to serve as your personal representative. Having a will provides you with the autonomy to determine who you want to manage your personal affairs. Further, you can also include the name of an alternate personal representative in your will. That person would be able to serve if your original designee can’t fulfill their duties. However, without a California will, the court, rather than you, would decide who should be responsible for administering your estate.
Your Will Should be a Part of Your California Estate Plan
Having a will is an essential part of a California estate plan. Your plan should include instruments that are designed to work together to safeguard your interests and estate. However, you will want to ensure your will and other estate planning documents are created and executed in accordance with California law.
The best way to help make sure that you have a valid will and comprehensive estate plan is by working with an experienced California estate planning attorney. You and your estate planning attorney can review your circumstances and goals and develop your will and other important devices.
At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are experienced California estate planning attorneys who can help you devise a will and other estate planning documents and plan for the future. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.