Orange County Will Lawyer
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One of the most important things you can do as an adult is set up your will. Sometimes referred to as your last will and testament, your will is a legal document that states your final wishes and is used as a guide after your passing to ensure that your final wishes are carried out to the best of the court’s ability. It is never too early for an adult to start planning his or her will, and the Orange County will lawyers at Evolution Tax and Legal are here to break down the process, the types of wills, and how our team of seasoned estate planning professionals can help.
Why Hire Evolution Tax and Legal To Help With Your Will in Orange County?
At Evolution Tax and Legal, we provide a unique value proposition to all of our clients: our team is dually-certified in law and accounting, which allows us to provide insight into the financial aspect of writing your will, as well as the legal portion. At Evolution Tax and Legal:
- We utilize our legal expertise to ensure your final wishes are documented in a valid and thorough last will and testament.
- We can provide guidance into which type of will is best for you and work with you to ensure you understand the process that will take place after your passing.
- We will work with you to gather information about all of your assets, your beneficiaries and provide guidance that goes above and beyond that of a typical financial planner.
- Our Orange County estate planning lawyers provide a personalized experience, working with our clients to understand them and their goals, in order to provide them with guidance that will work for the individual.
What Is a Will?
A will is the legal document that will be read by the county court after your death, and in it will be instructions that will coordinate the distribution of your assets and assign a guardian for any dependents under your sole care. A will allows you to communicate your wishes clearly, and not leave anything up to the interpretation of the courts or your beneficiaries. Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to state law, and your beneficiaries or loved ones will get no say in what they thought your wishes were. A will is an important document to have and to update with any life changes, and it is recommended to work closely with a will lawyer in Orange County to ensure your will covers all of your final wishes in a clear and concise manner.
How Can an Orange County Will Attorney Help?
The process of creating a will draws upon many areas of legal expertise including: real estate law, estate tax law, probate, life insurance and more. While federal law plays a part in your will, so do state and county laws. Speaking with a lawyer who specializes in wills and estate planning in your state and county can help you get advice for your unique situation, and determine the best course of action for writing your will.
Anyone with complex assets or wishes may greatly benefit from working with a lawyer to draft up their last will and testament. There is a large amount of risk involved in drafting a will, and without the guidance of a lawyer in order to do it properly, there would involve a lot of studying up on laws and legal implications of your final wishes.
If you know that you will need a probate court, provisions for minor children or stepchildren, appraisals and records of complex assets or that you have large sums of money in various bank accounts, an Orange County will attorney can work with you to make this process much simpler. Streamlining the process of writing your will can make this necessary yet difficult process feel much easier.
Types of Wills
There are four main types of wills, and determining which type is best for you can be a tricky process, based on your unique situation and wishes. The four main types of will are as follows:
A simple will is the most common type of will, and it is what many people think of when they think of the last will and testament. Using a simple will, you can name who will receive which of your assets, and name a guardian for any children or dependents. A simple will is easy to write, although it is still recommended to seek legal guidance before completing your simple will.
Testamentary Trust Will
A testamentary trust will place some assets of your estate into a trust and name trustees who will be in charge of the trust and distribute the assets within the trust to beneficiaries. This is a useful type of will for those who have minor children or who feel their beneficiaries may not be ready to receive the assets that are being left to them. This will allows you to place stipulations on the assets, such as an age a beneficiary must reach before they can access the trust.
A joint will is a will that is created and signed by two or more people and acts as a separate will for each testator. Generally, spouses will create a joint will and assign the other spouse as the sole inheritor upon their death. One of the difficulties with a joint will is that they cannot change after the death of one spouse, meaning that a living spouse will be unable to change their own will upon the death of their partner even if their wishes have changed.
A living will is unrelated to the distribution of property and assets after an individual’s death, and is instead the guidance that is to be followed if you become incpacitated. The living will includes instructions and wishes about medical treatments, as well as naming someone to make these decisions on your behalf. In some states, a living will is combined with a healthcare power of attorney into an advanced healthcare directive, so it is important to understand your states laws on this.
What Makes a Will Legal?
In order for a will to be legal, it needs to be signed and dated. In most states, you also need two witnesses to your signing of the will, who are willing to attest to that fact after your passing. The witnesses do not need to read the will, but they cannot be mentioned in the will as beneficiaries. If you have further questions about the legality of a will, speak with a knowledgeable Orange County will attorney at Evolution Tax and Legal.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and Trust?
While a will and a revocable living trust serve a similar purpose in allowing you to name beneficiaries for your assets that can be revised in the long run, they are ultimately different. Some of the key differences between a will and a trust is that a will is used to convey only property that is held in your name at the time of your death, while a living trust covers any and all property that has been transferred into and is held in the trust. While a trust is passed outside of probate, a will must be transferred through probate. In both a will and a trust, you are able to name a guardian for your children and dependents and specify funeral arrangements, but a will allows you to leave instructions for debts to be paid while a living trust does not allow such instructions.
What Should You Never Put in Your Will?
A will is the place to legally state what assets you would like to leave and whom you would like to leave them to, but there are certain things that are not legally enforceable and as such should not necessarily be included in your will. This includes:
- Funeral arrangements: While it is a good idea to plan your funeral arrangements for the sake of your loved ones after your passing, this is not legally enforceable.
- Care for beneficiaries with special needs: Providing care for any individuals with special needs who are in your care should be done through a special needs trust, not through your will.
- Certain inheritance conditions: You can set terms for your beneficiaries based on age and other things, but certain conditions are not legally enforceable, including marital status or religion.
- Funds for illegal activities: You cannot provide instructions in your will to give funds for any illegal activities.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will?
If you die without a will, it is referred to as dying intestate, and the state is required to determine what happens to your property based on state laws. Generally, state law specifies that your property and assets are given to your spouse and children, and if you have neither the property is passed along to your next closest relatives. The absence of a will prevents your last wishes from being executed, and in the case of an unmarried couple or a parent with stepchildren who have not been adopted, it can often leave members of a family as non-beneficiaries, even if the wish was to pass along your assets to these individuals.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Will Lawyer in Orange County, CA
The process of writing your will can be daunting, but it is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your wishes are carried out after your passing, and your loved ones receive the assets you wish to pass along to them. The Orange County will attorneys at Evolution Tax and Legal will work with you to ensure you have the necessary legal documents to pass along your final wishes based on your unique situation. Contact our team today for a free consultation.