What are Wills?
A will (also known as Last Will and Testament) is a legal document that primarily allows you to decide who should get your property when you die, but that is not its only purpose. A will also allows you to appoint a particular person to serve as guardians of your minor children and/or decide who you want to oversee the settling of your estate (paying your debts and final services expenses, distributing property to your beneficiaries, etc…). A will is the minimum legal document that someone should have in place to ensure their property is disposed of according to their wishes, not as the default rules of the state of California preordain.
Q: Who Can Create a Will?
A: California requires that you be at least 18 years of age, be of sound mind and not under the undue influence of another person who might be convincing you to will your property in a manner different than how you would truly like to. This is a very minimal standard.
Q: Who Should Make a Will?
A: You should make a will if you have property that you want to go to particular people. If you intend your property to go to family members, you should make a will to ensure that the property is divided or directed in the manner you desire. If you want your property to go to non-family members, a will is essential because, under the default laws of California, non-family members will never receive your property unless you express the intent in a will or other testamentary document.
Q: How Should I Go About Creating a Will?
A: Because wills are legal documents that have significant consequences for surviving family members and other loved ones, it is important to engage the services of a qualified estate planning attorney. The biggest hesitation in using an attorney is the concern over cost. We offer a free consultation and in many circumstances if a will is all you need, the fees are not more than $500 to $700.
Q: Does a Will Avoid Probate?
A: No. Probate takes place if your estate is considered large enough that it is deemed to require the oversight of a Probate Court.
Probate is the process whereby a court oversees the administration of a decedent’s estate, either by the terms of a will, testamentary trust, or by the default rules of the state, called “intestacy.”
The function of a will is to provide the Probate Court with specific guidance as to how you want your property distributed, rather than in the manner prescribed by state law. If you do not create a will or other testamentary instrument that gives the Probate Court some guidance as to how you want your property distributed, then that court will distribute the property in a pre-determined manner that might not be in accordance with your desires. That is why it is so important that you have a will or other testamentary instrument.
If your estate is considered large enough, your assets should be held in a Living Trust. In many circumstances, a Living Trust is created in conjunction with a Will to help avoid Probate.
Q: Do you service my location?
A: We service all of California, with offices in Sherman Oaks, Long Beach, Ontario, Lancaster and Los Angeles.
If it is not convenient to visit one of our offices, we can handle your entire case by phone and email! Please give our office a call for a free consultation.
Wills vs. Trusts Video
The fees for a Will range from $500 to $700.
Why Wadhwani & Shanfeld?
We have five convenient locations throughout Southern California, with offices in Sherman Oaks, Long Beach, Ontario, Lancaster and Los Angeles. If one of the locations does not work, we offer free telephone consultation and can handle all of the required forms and documents via email and mail.
We offer a free consultation to see which of our estate planning services makes sense for you, if any. You can also use this free consultation to get all of your questions answered.
Beyond convenience, our office is very experienced in the area of estate planning. We have drafted hundreds of estate plans for others, and can create a customized estate plan perfectly suited to your situation.
We specialize in service, and make sure our clients have the best experience they can possibly have. Our clients love working with our office, and we have the A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau to prove it!
Give us a call for your free consultation to learn more about estate planning and how it can help you feel good about securing a certain financial future for you and the ones you love.