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If you’re currently taking care of estate planning, drafting a will is often a critical step in the process. Unfortunately, people pass away without first having created their wills, trusts, and without any provisions for the distribution of assets. Whenever this occurs in California, the individual’s property and money must be distributed according to California law rather than the wishes of the deceased individual.

In instances where there is no will, the distribution of property will be determined based upon the recipients’ relation to the deceased. Other kinds of property, such as 401ks, insurance proceeds, joint bank accounts, and other forms of financial investments, will be given to whomever was designated as the beneficiary. Other items, such as an individual’s home, may be deemed community property; if this is the case, for instance, the house will become the sole property of a surviving spouse.

However, if you would like to control just how your assets and property are distributed, you’ll need to draft and sign a will. Most individuals aren’t sure where to start when it comes to creating a will. After all, this is a legal document, and there is a variety of requirements that you will need to meet. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, it could be determined that your will isn’t legally binding. Of, if your will is in any way unclear, this could lead to serious conflicts within your family down the line.

If you are looking to limit probate court involvement, simplify the distribution of your property, and make sure that guardians are available to care for your minor children, you’ll need to work with an experienced wills attorney, such as those at McCunn Law.

A Folsom Wills Attorney You Can Trust Call (916) 773-6100

What Kind of Attorneys Do Wills?

When it comes to drafting and administering your will, two types of lawyers need to be involved: a wills lawyer and a probate lawyer. Sometimes, a single attorney or office will offer both services.

During the drafting process, you will be aided by a wills attorney. However, once you need someone to guide you through your will’s administration, you’ll need to work with a probate attorney.

Should I Hire a Lawyer to Write My Will?

Generally speaking, yes, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer to draft your will. This is the case for a variety of reasons—even though, technically, an attorney isn’t legally required for a will to be upheld. Still, by working with a lawyer, you will be able to guarantee the integrity of all your decisions throughout the entire document. Furthermore, without an attorney, it isn’t difficult to make errors, which can ultimately compromise critical components of your will. Therefore, a will must be created carefully and with intense attention to detail.

3 Reasons a Hiring a Law Group Is Worth the Cost

Sometimes, money-saving tips from magazines, like how to DIY your own will, can cause more harm than the few dollars you might have saved doing it on your own. The experience and insight of an experienced lawyer can ensure the intent of your will is carried and that there are no unwanted surprises. Here are some of the top reasons it’s worth hiring an attorney when it comes to drafting your will.

  1. An attorney can ensure that your will is comprehensive and precise so that there is minimal risk of misinterpretation or confusion in the future.
    Naturally, you’ll want your will to be a comprehensive document. Due to all the factors that you need to consider, it isn’t difficult to accidentally leave out key elements if you’ve never drafted a will before. When you work alongside someone with substantial will-drafting experience, you’ll be able to create a truly comprehensive document without any missing bits of information. Whenever you leave out pieces of information, you risk causing confusion or miscommunication when it comes time to apply the decisions outlined within your will.

    Simply put, it should be clear to your family and loved ones who is meant to receive what, without any room for debate or misinterpretation. Where does each of these items go, and who is in charge of the process of distributing them? Also, make sure that you don’t forget to address factors such as charitable donations and guardianship whenever applicable. A wills attorney will ensure that you don’t miss anything important based on your personal circumstances.

  2. An attorney can help you to create a legally binding will.
    While the assistance of a wills attorney isn’t required for a will to be considered legally binding, working with a lawyer can ensure that you don’t make any errors, which could compromise the legality of the document.

    A will isn’t just a piece of paper offering your loved ones a quick, unofficial how-to guide on how to distribute your belongings. Remember, a will is a legal document, and it needs to be treated with the seriousness of one during the drafting process. Ideally, your will’s word should be treated as law, not as a suggestion or a loose guideline. It typically isn’t worth drafting a will without the aid of an attorney, as you’re putting yourself at serious risk of making a fatal error within the document.

    Whenever a will is considered not legally binding, it loses all value—it no longer has a legal say over where your belongings and assets end up. For instance, maybe an individual finds a template on the internet. They then use that template as the basis for their will, which they draft on their own, without the assistance of an attorney. However, that individual might be using a template intended for another state without realizing their error. Nevertheless, this person genuinely believes that they are crafting a legally binding document, even though they are greatly mistaken.

    Without the aid of an attorney, this sort of error might never be corrected. If a scenario such as this one occurs, then there is a serious risk of litigation or disputes once it’s time to implement the demands of the will. This sort of error is highly avoidable, and if the individual had worked with a California wills lawyer, it never would have occurred.

  3. An attorney can help reduce the tax burden placed upon your family and loved ones.
    Unfortunately, this is another critical aspect of the will drafting process that is often overlooked by those without experience. Make sure you’re considering the tax burden that your decisions will have on your loved ones in the future. Ideally, you should try your best to reduce the extent of this burden.

    For instance, maybe your estate includes significant retirement funds, investments, or real estate. If this sounds like your situation, it generally isn’t a wise idea to hand off all your belongings at once. Instead, you should take deliberate action to alleviate the impact of taxes on your assets before they are distributed to your family members. To do this, you’ll need a clear strategy in mind.

    A California wills attorney can help you craft this plan of action, thanks to their extensive experience in creating wills. In addition, your attorney will be able to take any tax implications into account, looking at how they will affect the beneficiaries of your will.

How Do You Find a Good Attorney for Wills?

When you’re searching for an attorney to tackle your will, you should never choose the first lawyer you come across. Instead, it’s worth putting some effort into your search—your will is an incredibly important document, and you are going to want it to be error-free. Still, how do you go about finding a good attorney for your will? There are a few factors you can take into account when you’re on the hunt for a wills lawyer.

  1. Try Expanding the Scope of Your Search
    As a quick disclaimer, your attorney should be licensed within your state. However, this doesn’t mean you should narrowly restrict the geographical scope of your search. Most likely, you are only going to find a few local attorneys offering will drafting services. When you’re working with such a small pool of options, there’s a good chance that none of these attorneys is going to be what you need. If you’re struggling to find an adequate attorney in your area, don’t settle. Expand your search past your local area.
  2. Go to an Attorney for a Referral
    If you happen to know an attorney (or another kind of financial advisor, such as a CPA), consider asking them for a referral. See if they know of any good estate planning attorneys in the area who specialize in drafting wills. There’s a solid chance that they’ll have a recommendation or two, which could give you a good starting point.
  3. Stay Away From Internet Directories
    It’s no secret that internet directories are a convenient resource, providing you with an extensive list of attorneys from which to choose. However, these directories are anything but a reliable resource. Much of the time, lawyers will pay large sums of money to appear on these directories rather than being placed there based upon their merit and track record. Instead, ensure that any sites you’re looking at are truly verified by a third party, unlike most directories. The references you utilize shouldn’t be ranking attorneys based on payment—rather, they should be taking a set list of criteria and using that the rank the attorneys.
  4. Determine Whether the Attorney Carries Malpractice Insurance
    When you’re seeking any kind of attorney, you should make sure the person you hire carries malpractice insurance. Whenever an attorney has this kind of insurance policy, it is a strong sign of accountability. No matter how experienced a lawyer is, it is always possible that they will make a mistake.

    Keep in mind that all incorporated attorneys are legally required to possess malpractice insurance; the California State Bar Association mandates this.

What Do I Need to Bring to an Attorney for a Will?

To begin creating your will, you’ll need to gather several key documents. Without having these documents on hand, it won’t be possible for your attorney to properly craft the will you want.

To begin creating your will, you’ll need to bring or determine:

  1. Personal Assets
    Obviously, the goal of your will is going to be to control how your assets are distributed after your death. To determine this distribution, you will need to compile your assets. Make sure that you’re providing your attorney with any paperwork associated with these assets.

    Assets come in various forms, so make sure you’re communicating with your lawyer—they should be able to help you make sure everything is covered.

  2. Any Existing Debts
    In a similar vein, while your attorney will need to know all of your assets, they will also need to understand your debts. Again, much of the time, these debts will involve documentation, so make sure that you’re sharing all of this with your attorney.
  3. Your Chosen Beneficiaries
    Make sure that you’ve identified your beneficiaries so that you know who will receive your assets. Your attorney can help you determine beneficiaries if you’re at all unsure. Your will should include important information about your beneficiaries, including their full names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, birth certificates, or any adoption paperwork for minor children, if applicable.

How Much Do Attorneys Charge to Draft a Will?

The cost can vary, although much of the time, wills lawyers charge their clients a flat fee. This fee will typically range from $300 to $1,200, with $1,000 being a reasonably common price tag. If you’re working with a wills attorney who charges by the hour, you can expect to pay a bare minimum of $150 per hour. However, most will charge clients $200 per hour or more.

Folsom Estate Planning and Will Drafting Services

Are you looking for wills or probate lawyers in the Folsom, California area? Get in touch with the estate planning experts at McCunn Law today. To schedule a consultation or ask us a question, contact us through our convenient online form. We offer experienced and compassionate legal advice for estate planning and asset division.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.