Most people put off writing a will for later in life, but estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones and their peace of mind. Talking to a Tracy will lawyer is a good place to start, but let’s review a few key details. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.
Protecting Your Wishes
A will is a legal document that allows you (the testator) to determine how your estate is managed after your death. This can include financially valuable things like properties, but also items of sentimental value, like old family photo albums. The person assigned to manage your estate is called the executor. They are responsible for carrying out your wishes. It’s not necessary to name someone from your personal life to be the executor of your estate. Your Tracy will lawyer can also fill this essential role.
Did you know that more than half of Americans over the age of forty-five don’t yet have a will? This is according to a survey that was offered by the AARP. Estate planning can be overwhelming because it requires thinking about a time when we’re no longer here. But documenting our wishes is the best way to protect them, as well as our loved ones.
Reasons to Create a Will
There are many reasons to create a will while you’re young and healthy. Estate planning documents can always be updated as needed, so there’s no need to worry that your decisions are set in stone. Here are some of the top reasons to get your affairs in order as soon as possible:
- To name a legal guardian for minor children. Otherwise, this decision is left up to the court.
- Determining how your estate is distributed among beneficiaries.
- To avoid a drawn-out probate process as well as possible family disputes.
- Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us.
- You have the option to disinherit people who stand to inherit your estate in the absence of a will. For example, a former spouse you’re no longer married to.
- Minimize estate taxes for your loves ones.
- Add gifts or donations to your estate plan. A Tracy will lawyer can explain the most up-to-date gift tax exclusions in your state.
Dying Without a Will
So, what happens if someone passes away without an estate plan? It’s called intestate when you die without a will. What this means is that the state of California will determine how your estate is distributed. These laws vary between states. Your belongings will enter the probate process to be transferred to beneficiaries that are chosen by the court.
A judge will also name an administrator, who will then follow the laws of probate in that state. It’s unlikely that this person knew you during your lifetime, or will be related to you in any way, which means they’re unlikely to handle things as you would have.
Schedule an Appointment with a Tracy Will Lawyer
For your peace of mind, don’t put off creating a will. When you’re ready to talk to an estate planning attorney, contact Lewman Law by calling (925) 447-1250. John F. Lewman, Attorney at Law, is a leading estate planning attorney in the Tri-Valley area. He’s known for his knowledge, skill and dedication, as well as his reassuring and compassionate demeanor. Do you have questions? Lewman Law is here to help.