One of the most well-known estate planning documents is the will. A Last Will and Testament provides instructions to the probate court and the executor of your estate on how to distribute your property after you pass away.
Wills can be relatively simple documents. Basic versions can state that you wish your entire estate to go to a single person. However, you may also distribute your estate among multiple heirs.
A wills lawyer could guide you through the process of creating this document. Our dedicated legal team could help you identify your goals, draft the document, and ensure that your will takes on the proper legal form.
Why is It Important to Have a Will?
Throughout a lifetime, an individual can acquire money, real estate, heirlooms, and other valuable property. A will is one of the best ways to ensure that a person’s legacy gets passed on to their heirs after their death.
The main purpose of creating a will is to retain control over the probate process. Probate exists to oversee the administration of a decedent’s estate. A will provides instructions to the court concerning what the decedent wants to occur.
If someone dies intestate—without a will—their surviving family members will be subject to the state’s intestacy laws. California Probate Code § 6402 outlines which parties will inherit an estate if a will does not exist. These default guidelines on the distribution of a decedent’s estate could be underside, which is why it is crucial to work with a lawyer to write a will.
Rules Concerning the Formation of Wills
Generally, as long as a person commits their intent concerning their estate to writing, the court will consider the document to be a will. However, there are certain elements that a will should contain to be completely correct in the eyes of the law. For example, CA Prob. Code § 6110 states that a will must contain the signature of the testator. Additionally, at least two witnesses must observe this signing. Those witnesses must also sign the will in the presence of the testator.
Another vital aspect of creating a valid will is the idea of intent. In general, any person over the age of 18 can create a will. However, they must intend to do so. Wills that come about as the product of fraud or deceit are invalid under the law. A wills attorney in the area can work to craft documents that meet these legal requirements.
Call an Attorney Today to Learn More
Having a comprehensive estate plan is vital to protecting the future of your family. A major part of the estate planning process is the creation of a will. A will serves as instructions for the executor of your estate and probate courts on how to distribute your assets after your passing.
A wills lawyer from our firm could help you create a document that clearly expresses your desires. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation.