Few people want to actively consider their own mortality but failing to plan now can have serious consequences for your loved ones if you unexpectedly pass away. Regardless of your age or health condition, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive estate plan that clearly outlines your wishes for your assets and property, names your intended beneficiaries, and ensures they have the easiest time possible acquiring access to their inheritances. Neglecting to leave behind a well-written, legally binding estate plan means California’s legal system will have the ultimate authority in distributing the contents of your estate.
If you want to protect your legacy and obtain peace of mind that your instructions will be faithfully carried out after you die, the first step in creating an estate plan is to draft a will with help from a Roseville will attorney. Consult the information below to learn how to create a will, then contact McCunn Law to get started today. Our firm can work with you to establish your goals for end-of-life planning and develop an estate plan that accomplishes these goals.
What Should You Include in Your Will?
Your will should include detailed information about your estate and list any assets you want to pass down to family members, such as bank accounts, investments, real estate, family heirlooms, personal property, and other items.
Typically, a will is divided into three main sections:
- A statement that you are of sound mind and not under any duress, coercion, or undue influence. This statement confirms that the document reflects your wishes and that you understand the full impact of what it contains.
- A list of beneficiaries you want to inherit your property. You can list beneficiaries by name and specify that certain items go to specific people or request that your estate be divided up into exact percentages. To avoid potential family conflict, you may want to leave an equal amount to each beneficiary. For example, if you have two children and no surviving spouse, you can stipulate that each child receives 50% of the value of your estate. Alternatively, if your children have different needs, you can take this into consideration when assigning different amounts.
- The names of the individuals that you want to handle the administration of your estate after your death, known as executors. Your executors are responsible for managing and distributing your property according to the law and your wishes. This involves appraising assets, filing tax returns, selling real estate, paying bills (including funeral costs), and fulfilling any other financial obligations.
When Should You Create Your Will?
You should create a will if any of the following apply to you:
- You have accumulated assets or property.
- You have gotten married, divorced, or remarried.
- You have children.
- You started a family business.
- You purchased a home.
- Your family or financial situation has changed in any other way.
What Is the Best Way to Create a Will in Roseville, California?
Follow the steps below to create a will:
- Locate a Roseville Estate Planning Attorney.
Creating a will may seem like a straightforward process, but attempting to do this on your own can be quite risky. A will that does not conform to state and federal laws may be deemed invalid, resulting in the court appointing an executor for you and distributing your estate according to intestacy laws. McCunn Law can ensure you properly prepare and file all necessary documents, answer your questions, and resolve any issues that arise.
- Create an Inventory of Your Estate.
Make a detailed list of all your assets and property, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, and any other valuable personal items.
- Name Your Beneficiaries.
List the names and contact information of your beneficiaries and the exact items you want them to receive or percentages of the total value of your estate.For instance, you may want to list your surviving spouse as the primary beneficiary of your estate and select other beneficiaries to receive specific items, such as a car or family heirloom.
- Designate an Executor.
You can name one or two executors who will handle the distribution of your estate after death. It’s important to choose someone you trust who understands the responsibilities of this role and is both willing and able to fulfill these responsibilities.
- Select a Guardian for Your Children.
If you have a child and their other parent is not listed as a beneficiary, then it’s important to select a guardian for them. You can choose the other parent, a family member, friend, colleague, or someone else you can rely on to follow your instructions and provide your children with the proper care.
- Have Your Will Notarized.
Your will must be notarized to be considered legally valid. In California, it is required that two witnesses must be present and sign paperwork to finalize your will. You can ask your attorney to serve as one of these witnesses.
- Keep Your Will Safe.
Store your will in a safe and secure location. A locked filing cabinet, desk drawer, or safe can store your will in an easily accessible location within your home, but this may not protect it from prying eyes or natural disasters. You can store your will in a safe deposit box, but make sure you inform your executor of the location, fill out any paperwork that is required to give them the legal right to access the safe deposit box and provide an extra key.
- Update Your Will as Needed.
Update the terms of your will when your circumstances change. If you move, get married or divorced, have children, start a business, buy a house, or experience any other changes that impact your estate and beneficiaries, your will needs to reflect these changes. You also should update your will if any of your beneficiaries have passed away.
Start Drafting Your Will Today
If you want to protect the future of your family, contact McCunn Law today. Our experienced attorneys can help you create a comprehensive, legally binding estate plan that includes a will, trust, durable power of attorney, advanced health care directive, and other essential documents that prepare your family for your death or incapacitation. Do not force your loved ones to undergo a bureaucratic nightmare while they’re grieving. With our help, you can preserve your estate, streamline the probate process, and ensure your beneficiaries have prompt access to their inheritances.