A core purpose of any estate plan is to determine what will happen to your assets after your death. For generations, the sole way to accomplish this was to create a will, which is a powerful legal document that outlines which beneficiaries can inherit which assets. While more modern options offer increased flexibility, a comprehensive will is still a good method to provide your heirs with the inheritance they deserve.
Thankfully, a Huntington Beach wills lawyer could help you to plan and draft these documents. One of our dedicated estate planning attorneys could work with people to identify their assets, determine who they want to inherit property, explain which assets you could include, help with identifying the proper beneficiaries, outline how to draft a legal will, and minimize complications with the probate process.
How Does a Will Fit into an Estate Plan?
Wills form the backbone of most estate plans and serve a few different functions.
From a legal perspective, wills override the state’s laws concerning the inheritance of property in case of intestacy. In simple terms, a person dies “intestate” when they pass away without a will. Passing away under this status results in assets being distributed strictly, according to the order of inheritance present in California Probate Code § 6402. However, drafting a will that transparently outlines the exact destination of property avoids intestacy and helps keep an estate plan intact.
Meanwhile, carefully drafted wills could also inform one’s heirs that they stand to inherit property and resolve disagreements after a decedent’s passing. If a family is confused about the wording of their loved one’s will, a knowledgeable attorney in Huntington Beach could assess a document to help ensure that the decedent’s wishes stayed respected.
Creating Wills that Meet the Required Legal Standards
People who create wills are free to insert almost any language that they wish into these documents. They can name a single heir who can inherit an entire estate or split property however they wish. Courts usually do not interfere with the right of adults to create wills. However, there are some laws that control the format of these documents.
To begin, an author must have both the intent and capacity to create a will. This means that they must be over the age of 18, understand the process behind creating the document, and recognize the legal impact that the arrangement will have. Failing to adhere to both guidelines could, unfortunately, open a will up to challenges or legal issues.
Another essential step involved in the drafting of a will is adherence to the signatory rules. Under CA Prob. Code § 6110, the testator must personally sign a will or direct another person to sign on their behalf. In addition, two witnesses who observed this signing must also add their endorsements to the document. A will that meets these standards is presumed legal. Accomplishing this becomes much simpler when working with a detail-oriented lawyer in Huntington Beach – someone who could help people draft documents that clearly express their desires and that meet the relevant legal requirements.
Reach Out to a Huntington Beach Wills Attorney Today
While seemingly simple, wills are important estate planning documents because they help you decide, in legal terms, exactly who will inherit your assets after you pass away. Although you are free to insert almost any language that you wish into these documents, you must also be certain to follow the state’s rules for drafting and implementation.
A Huntington Beach wills lawyer is ready to help during each stage of your process. They could work with you to understand your goals and explain how creating a will could help to achieve them. Finally, one of our team members could then draft the document on your behalf to provide the best chance of a simple probate process. Contact us online today to schedule your first consultation.