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Perhaps the simplest type of estate planning strategy is to draft a last will and testament. It is nearly always in your best interests to execute a will, since by doing so you can ensure that your personal estate will be disposed of according to your wishes. If you do not leave a will, your personal possessions and assets will be divided up in according to the arbitrary dictates of state law. As a result, close friends or certain members of your family may be deprived of the benefits of your generosity, and you will have no say concerning the amount that different parties receive as inheritance. Instead, you can use a will to specifically state who will receive certain items, as well as how much each beneficiary of your estate will receive.
In your will, you can also appoint an individual whose judgment you trust to act as the executor of your estate. Otherwise, the executor will be appointed by the court, and this person may or may not be capable of carrying out the process of probate according to your wishes. Another reason that you should write a will is to appoint a guardian for your children so that they will be left in good hands in the event that you should pass away before your children reach adulthood. Our Roseville probate lawyers can help you write a will that comprehensively covers the full scope of your wishes for the planning and administration of your estate.
Wills are not the ideal estate planning solution for everybody. If you have a large estate and are concerned about minimizing the tax consequences of inheritance, you may be better off creating a trust. Another reason that some people choose to use trusts for their estate planning needs is because a will is subject to the requirement of passing through probate. During probate, heirs can contest the legal validity of the will and engage in adversarial litigation, and creditors can file claims against the estate. Even if you use a trust, however, it is still in your best interests to execute a will for the purpose of providing for the disposition of any assets that you did not place in your trust. It is also possible to include provisions in your will to transfer your assets into the trust upon your passing, which is known as a testamentary trust.
Many people assume that they do not need the assistance of an attorney when writing a will, which can be a major mistake. Even relatively minor errors in the language used in the will can result in it being declared invalid, meaning that the estate will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession as though you had not written any type of will in the first place. Another possibility is that you might fail to make provisions for the complexities of the California Probate Code, potentially causing major problems that would delay the probate process or deprive your loved ones of the full benefit of your generosity.
Don't take chances with this situation. Let a Roseville estate planning attorney from Herrig & Vogt, LLP guide you through the process to ensure the best possible results. We serve clients throughout Placer County, Sacramento County and El Dorado County, and we can help you draft your will, taking into account all of your legal rights and options according to state law. With our help, you can create an individually tailored estate plan that leaves you with the confidence of knowing that you have made provisions for your loved ones in the time after your passing.
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