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Wills Attorney in Orange County

Need to Draft a Will? Let Our Legal Team Assist You!

Wills are a fundamental tool in ensuring that your wishes are followed after your death. At P. Arnsen Blakely, we understand that wills represent much more than legal documents, which is why we go above and beyond in our efforts to assist the clients in drafting wills, living wills, trusts, and other crucial estate planning tools.

Why Do I Need an Attorney to Draft a Will?

While many people may be familiar with the basic concepts of wills and testaments, the fact remains that there are numerous legal complexities and procedures that must be met to create a legally valid will. Ensuring that your loved ones are provided for after your death and that the handling of your estate proceeds smoothly should be a priority. This is why our firm works diligently to provide comprehensive legal assistance so that our clients understand all of their options regarding a last will & testament, living wills, and the probate court process.

Call us today at (714) 908-4230 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Common Components of a Will

The purpose of drafting a last will and testament varies from individual to individual, and there is no set-in-stone outline for creating one that you must follow. You may have publically traded stocks that need to be sold or maintained. You could have a set of family heirlooms that require certain care and precautions. You may even need to decide who will inherit your debt. Regardless of what you need to say or how you want to say it, there are some portions of a will that usually should be included, no matter the situation.

Common components to a will include:

  • Dividing Assets: When people think wills, they will ultimately start to envision a distribution of wealth. If you do not draft a will before you pass away, your estate and properties may be divided by a state-appointed official in ways you had never intended.
  • Debt Management: If you have debt when you pass away, it does not disappear and needs to be managed. Based on your will, you can use portions of your estate to pay off your remaining debts. In such cases, inheritors will only be able to make claims on your estate after debts have been settled.
  • Name an Executor: An executor is someone who ensures your will is carried out as close to your wishes as it can be. In the will itself, you should name one of your most trusted friends or family members as the executor.
  • No-Contest Clause: You can also include a clause of no-contest in your will. Doing so typically prevents anyone who contests your will from gaining any benefits of your estate. While somewhat controversial and able to be disputed itself, a no-contest clause may save your heirs from the hassle of going to probate court to resolve disagreements.

What Is a Holographic Will?

In the state of California, a testator may create a will at any time and without any witnesses present. Known as a holographic will, these documents are just as legally binding as other forms of wills. However, due to California Probate Code §§6110-6111, it can't be digitally created or typed on a typewriter. A holographic will needs to be in the testator's own handwriting and include their unique signature somewhere on the document. Furthermore, due to the seemingly rushed or unprofessional nature of a holographic will, they are often more easily contested in court.

If you need to make some last-minute revisions to your will and live in a state that recognizes handwritten wills, a holographic will could be your solution. It is still recommended that you seek professional legal counsel from an estate planning attorney if you need to change your will.

FAQ: Wills

Question #1: What happens if I die without a will?

A: If you die without drafting a will, then your estate will be distributed in accordance with state law. The advantage of writing a will is that you can specifically state your intentions. This means you can include certain beneficiaries and your wishes for asset and property distribution to avoid unnecessary complications for your family in the future.

Question #2: Is a will my only option to pass assets to my children after my death?

A: No. You may pass assets to your children 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 irrevocable trusts, revocable living trusts, and special needs trusts. Trusts allow for avoidance of probate and give flexibility in the 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.

Question#3: Can a will be challenged?

A: Wills can be challenged for being forged or done without proper verification. Wills can also be contested because the writer was of unsound mind or under undue influence. Failure to provide for the spouse, vague language, or important omissions can also lead to probate litigation in the future. If you want your family to avoid future litigation, it is important to take the right steps when preparing your 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.

How Our Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

Do you have additional questions, regarding drafting a will? If so, our seasoned legal team urges you to get in touch with an estate planning attorney at our firm. When you meet with our team, we will take the time to get to know you and the specific details of your unique circumstances so we can devise the right legal strategy to help you pursue your goals. Whether you need to prepare a living will or revocable living trusts, our legal team is here to walk you through each phase of the legal process so you feel confident your best interests are protected

Call us today at (714) 908-4230 or contact us online to schedule a free initial case evaluation.

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