All California adults should have a last will and testament. It’s a crucial estate planning tool that can protect your assets, your family and your future. These are some of the biggest reasons why you need one.
Purpose of a will
A last will and testament is a legal document that allows you to explain how you want your property distributed after your death. It also lets you name an executor who will oversee your estate and name guardians for your minor children. With a will, you are also able to state who will care for your pets if they outlive you and express wishes for your final arrangements.
Wills and trusts often go hand-in-hand as part of an estate plan. Although you can do all of these things with a will, you might want to include a trust to hold certain assets for specific beneficiaries such as your children.
Understanding what happens if you die without a will
If you die without a last will and testament, it’s referred to as dying intestate. This means that your estate goes through an extensive probate process to go through all assets and property. The court distributes everything in your estate according to state intestacy laws, which normally means that your spouse, children, parents and siblings all inherit a percentage. However, in this situation, it’s common for the surviving family members to fight over property. You might have promised a specific asset to a certain person, but the lack of a will negates that.
If you don’t have any family, your estate goes to the state.
Having a last will and testament is the best way to ensure that all of your wishes are met and that your family members get what you’ve promised them. A will brings you and your loved ones much-needed peace of mind.