Frequently Asked Questions About Wills
Orange County Estate Planning Attorney
Below are questions our legal team is frequently asked about wills. The answers are intended as general information and not as legal advice.
Contact an Orange County estate planning lawyer for any additional questions that have not been answered or for information about your personal situation and needs.
What happens if you do not write a will?
In the event that a will has not been prepared before one's eventual passing, then their estate is distributed in accordance with the state law. The advantage of writing a will is that you can specifically state your intentions—meaning that you can include certain beneficiaries and your wishes for asset and property distribution—as well as help to avoid unnecessary complications for your family in the future. By contacting an attorney, you also gain valuable guidance with estate planning and
What do you need to consider when writing a will?
A will can allow you to identify your property and specifically state how it is to be distributed. If you have minor children, you need to provide for guardianship, and you should also designate the person who is to administer the will, meaning the executor. When all of these factors have been thought over and decided upon, you will be able to properly compile a will that is indicative of your interests.
Is a will the only way to pass assets to children?
No. You may also do so with gifts and trusts. You can make gifts up to a certain value each year without paying a gift tax. This has the advantage of avoiding
estate taxes. You can also create
revocable living trusts and
special needs trusts. Trusts allow for
avoidance of probate and give flexibility in distribution of assets. For instance, if you have a spendthrift child, your trustee may distribute payments on a monthly basis so the child is supported over an extended time.
How can a will be challenged?
It may be challenged for being forged or done without proper verification. It may also be asserted that the writer was of unsound mind or under undue influence. Failure to provide for the spouse, vagueness or important omissions can also lead to probate litigation in the future. In order to avoid future litigation, it is important to take the right steps when preparing a will. By being specific in your intentions and by covering all of your bases in the completed and verified will, future complications can be avoided.
What makes a will legal?
Proving a will's validity is one of the primary components of the probate process. There are certain measures you can take to simplify this step. First and foremost, however, you must have the will signed by at least two witnesses. These witnesses should be impartial parties who will not inherent anything under the will. You must also date and sign the will. Having a will notarized or filed with a government agency is not typically required, but can simplify the proof of validity in the future.
Do you have more questions?
If you have any additional questions, we urge you to contact an Orange County estate planning attorney from our firm. By scheduling a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable lawyer from our firm, the pressing questions that you may still have can be answered quickly and effectively. If you are looking for more information, a representative of P. Arnsen Blakely is standing to provide you with the information you need.