Will Attorneys in Mendocino Helping Families Prepare for the Future
Thinking about the possibility of your own death can be difficult and overwhelming. One step that many individuals know they should do is to prepare a will in order to indicate how they want their assets distributed after their death. The knowledgeable lawyers at DeCarli Law have many years of helping clients have the appropriate will, documented according to California law. Their clients include nontraditional families, such as individuals with children from a previous marriage or grandparents with custody of minor children. The attorneys at DeCarli Law are also skilled at handling estate plans that involve the ownership of real estate—be it your own home or investment properties. Don’t delay this critical step in preparing for your future—call us today at (707) 937-2701 for a free consultation, either virtually, in-office, or by phone.
What Happens to Individuals Who Die Without a Will?
Having a will prepared before you die can make a huge difference for your surviving loved ones. It instructs the disbursement of your property and how other important matters will be handled. In California, strict laws demand that wills be drawn up officially and according to state requirements in order for them to be valid. If you die intestate, or without a valid will, the state will make these important decisions in a probate court.
The probate court will attempt to distribute your assets to your family as fairly as possible. Your spouse will receive part of your property, and some of it will also be given to family members such as children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and other close relatives. Without a will in place, your unmarried partner and close friends may receive nothing from your estate. In the case that you have no living relatives, your estate becomes the property of the State of California.
For these reasons, it is critical that you prepare a will before you die, and having an estate planning attorney can ensure that the will is prepared properly and to your benefit.
How Does My Family Benefit from a Will?
A will can protect your family’s future in several ways:
A Will Names Your Beneficiaries
Your will is an important part of your estate plan because it indicates who will receive what portions of your assets. The beneficiaries named could be individuals, trusts, or institutions.
Any individuals can be named in a will, including an unmarried domestic partner, friends, and any relatives you wish. The assets bestowed upon the people or organizations in your will can be money, real estate, or personal property. You may also name a residual beneficiary to whom any remaining assets in the estate will be given.
It Names a Guardian for Your Minor Children
If you have any children under age 18 when you die, and if both you and your spouse have passed away, they will need a new guardian. Your will can indicate who you want to assume responsibility for their care and the management of their finances. It is possible to name more than one guardian if you wish.
A Will Indicates Who Will Administer Your Estate
The executor, or the person you choose to oversee your estate, will be the individual responsible for paying bills and taxes due at the time of your death, as well as making sure your will is carried out according to your instruction. Since this role is so important and involves a high amount of trust, they should be selected carefully. Many individuals choose their spouse or domestic partner or another close family member. You may also choose an institution to be your executor, such as a bank.
What Are Some Reasons to Have a Will?
Having a will in place is a matter of protection for your surviving loved ones. It is especially important if you have children who are minors at the time of your death, as it will signify the person you choose to become their guardian.
A will also ensures that any separate properties you own when you die will be assigned to your loved ones in the way that you wish. It can also indicate how to handle the distribution of retirement accounts and life insurance policies and can ensure that loved ones who would not normally receive anything from your estate during probate (like an unmarried partner or a friend) are not overlooked.
Wills can always be changed and should be reviewed periodically to make sure no changes are needed. For example, a marriage, divorce, or birth of a child can change drastically how individual wishes their estate to be managed after his or her death.
Keep in mind, that adjusting your will is not a matter of simply crossing out sections and adding new lines. Just as the creation of the will is highly important in order for the document to be valid in California, any changes must also occur under the same strict requirements. Some individuals choose to make a new will entirely, or you may elect to add an amendment called a codicil to change the original will.
Should I Hire Estate Planning Lawyers to Help with My Will?
If you are in need of a will in preparation for your future, consulting a knowledgeable attorney is the right choice to get started. The lawyers at DeCarli Law know how to prepare wills for our clients, even with the unique needs of nontraditional families. Attorney Debra DeCarli and her talented legal team want to listen to your wishes and needs and will make sure your estate plan meets those requirements. We can also help update your existing will if it needs adjustments. Attorney DeCarli is pleased to offer in-person consultations in the lovely coastal town of Mendocino. She also offers virtual and phone appointments. Call today for your free consultation at (707) 937-2701.