The Will is the most basic element of the Estate Plan. It has existed, in one form or another, for literally thousands of years.
By definition, a Will is “a written instrument, executed with the formalities required by statute, by which a person makes a disposition of his real and personal property, to take effect after his death, and by its own nature is fully revocable until death.”
Your Will as Drafted by the State of California
It is actually a mistake when a client comes into our office and informs us that they “have no estate plan.” Everybody has an estate plan, the question is whether you drafted your estate plan, or whether the State of California will create one for you.
Without a valid Will, you are guaranteeing that your Estate will go through an Intestacy proceeding. As discussed elsewhere on this web-site, Intestacy is similar to a Probate proceeding – in that it is a court-supervised proceeding for paying off creditors and passing on assets to your heirs at law.
The key difference is that the State of California will put these “words” into your mouth:
(1) I desire to pay the maximum amount of taxes possible;
(2) I believe in letting the State choose a guardian for my minor children;
(3) I feel the State can do a better job than I can in choosing who gets my property and when;
(4) I feel the State can do a better job than I can in choosing the personal representative of my estate.
Take Control of Your Family’s Estate
Not surprisingly, most Americans feel that they are more qualified than a Court to decide how their assets should be distributed, or who should serve as guardian for your children.
The only problem is: if you haven’t taken the time to execute a valid will, the Court does not have any guidance from you to go by – and therefore will substitute its own judgment.
The Devastating Effects of Procrastination
Unfortunately, current statistics show that nearly 70% of all Americans die without a valid will or trust; subjecting their family and beneficiaries to the intestacy proceeding process. Since virtually 100% of Americans intend to get a will or a trust before they die, it is clear who the real enemy is – PROCRASTINATION!
The key is decisive action
Take action today to ensure that your loved ones are provided for in accordance with your wishes – not the wishes of the Probate Court.
Co-ordinating Your Will and Living Trust
One of the most frequent problems people face is when their Will and Living Trust conflict with each other on certain key provisions. This often happens when the documents were drafted at different times, or if the documents were drafted by “paralegal service” groups.
We offer all prospective clients a FREE review of their Estate Planning documents, to ensure that they coordinate seamlessly with each other, and will in fact accomplish your goals and objectives.
We invite you to contact us to discuss your Estate Planning needs in greater detail.