When you want to create a will, you’re doing so generally with the intention of either providing for your family or making sure that your assets are distributed in the way that you want. Without a will, the State of California will follow intestate laws to determine how your assets will be divided between certain heirs. If no heirs can be found, the State of California takes possession of the property within the estate.
Yet, many people don’t create a will. While there are several reasons this happens, one of those reasons is because people simply don’t know what information they need or how to do it. Of course, one of the easiest ways to create a will is to make an appointment with an estate planning lawyer.It’s still important to know the information that is required as well as the steps that are generally taken.
Information Required to Create a Will
To create a will, you need certain information. Ultimately, the information you need will depend on your specific circumstances. You need:
- A list of your property. This includes real property, such as homes or lands, as well as financial assets. It also includes things that may have just sentimental value. Be careful to not leave anything out.
- Your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can be family members, friends, or even pets.It can also be organizations. You could even use your assets to start an organization to help the community. Also, think about whether there’s anyone that may be entitled to part of your estate if you don’t create a will and if you want to exclude them from inheriting anything. Maybe you have a family member that you’ve given substantial sums of money to in the past and you want to consider those previous gifts as their inheritance. This is important because you can exclude people from receiving anything from your estate.
- Who you want to choose as the executor of your estate. You can choose anyone you’d like as long as they are an adult. It is also wise to consider a secondary executor. If the named executor doesn’t want to fulfill the position for any reason, the other individual may assume the position. Executors have very important legal obligations that they must fulfill. So, make sure that you choose carefully.
- How you want your assets distributed. Of course, if you’re leaving everything to just one person, that certainly makes things easier. Yet, if you want certain assets to go to certain people, that needs to be specified.
- Choose a guardian for minor children or adult children with special needs. If you’re a parent, think about who you want to take care of your children if something happens to you. You should consider listing more than one individual since times change and the primary person named may not be able to fulfill their role at that time.
Creating the Will
To create the will, you have options. You can write it yourself provided that you make sure that you adhere to the State of California’s legal requirements for writing and executing a will. You can opt to use online software or an online provider. However, you’ll want to do your research and make sure that what’s offered does comply with the laws in the state. You can hire a lawyer to help you. A lawyer can help you do more than create a will. They can also help you make sure that you have all of the estate planning documents you need so that your idea of what happens to your assets when you die may be honored.