A will is a document that can accomplish several objectives upon your death, including:
- Providing for the distribution of your property however you want (subject to certain restrictions that prevent disinheriting a spouse and, in some cases, children)
- Appointing one or more guardians for your minor children if the other parent is not alive
- Nominating one or more executors to administer your estate
- Making funeral, burial, and/or cremation requests
- Distributing assets to a related revocable living trust (a will that does this is called a “pour-over” will)
- Directing from which assets taxes will be paid
- If you are custodian for the assets of a child or grandchild under the Uniform Gift (or Transfers) to Minors Act, you may designate your successor custodian and avoid the expense of a court appointment
- Creating one or more trusts (called testamentary trusts) to ensure continued property management and creditor protection for the surviving family members, to provide for charities, and to minimize taxes
In California, unless your will is handwritten (called a holographic will), a will must be signed with certain formalities and in the presence of at least two witnesses, who also must sign your will. A later amendment to a will is called a codicil and must be signed with the same formalities.
Wills range from fairly simple to complex. Because a will is central to any estate plan, you should have the most complete will possible prepared for you. Contact Collins Law Corporation today to begin creating your will and the rest of your estate plan.