Having A Will Is So Important. I Can Help You Create One.

Last will and testament with keys, pen and gavel - THE LAW OFFICES OF DIANE ANDERSONThe term “will” can cover a variety of documents that are created to describe how a person’s estate will get distributed after their passing. While these documents can be hand-written or created with multiple witnesses present, legally speaking, the most secure wills are designed with a wills attorney’s help and attention.

You will receive family-focused care and professional guidance at my firm, The Law Offices of Diane Anderson. I am proud to offer comprehensive estate planning services and have helped countless families in Folsom, Jackson and the surrounding areas of California to create wills that provide the security people need to feel confident about their futures.

How Can You Benefit From A Will?

A will allows you to set out – in no uncertain terms – what you wish to be done with your assets after you pass away. These documents benefit everyone, particularly if you have a family or loved ones you wish to provide for when you can no longer do so yourself.

While many people assume that wills are something to consider when nearing the end of their life, they are essential for individuals of any age. If you are a young parent or have any specific desires for the future of your assets, it’s still early enough to begin the process of creating a will. There is always time to create legal security for you and your family’s future.

Why An Attorney Is Crucial For Creating A Will

If you are looking to create a will, you may find yourself searching the internet for things like “will planning attorney” or “will estate lawyer.” Some of these offerings may claim to provide a complete will in minutes for a flat fee. However, these one-size-fits-all services rarely provide the legal security you need to be confident that your estate will be properly cared for after your passing.

You have worked a lifetime for the assets you have — with so much at stake, why risk the security of your estate by using an online service? An attorney can help you create a will and form a comprehensive estate plan to ensure all your goals are achievable and secure.

Is A Will Enough For Your Estate Plan?

While a will is an integral part of any estate plan, it’s important to consider various factors that may affect your approach. From the size of your estate to the goals you have for your assets and the individuals you would like to include as beneficiaries — many factors will change the necessary path to a complete estate plan for you.

The best way to determine whether or not a will alone can meet your needs is to meet with an attorney. An estate planning lawyer can assess your situation and give you expert insight into your legal situation.

Does Everyone Need A Will?

Everyone needs a will. Even if you don’t have a lot, you still have stuff – even if it’s just clothing or jewelry. I don’t mean this to be minimal; even the poorest among us likely have an item or two they’d like to give to a friend. The whole point of a will is to establish who you want your possessions to go to after you pass.

What Happens If You Die Without One?

If you die without a will, you die intestate. If your estate is valued at more than $184,500, it must go to probate. Probate means that the estate has to go to court. The court will usually determine who administers your estate, called an administrator or executor. Typically, it’s a family member, but sometimes people will fight over being an administrator. That’s why it’s much better to have something on paper.

You want an executor to be responsible for giving away all of your stuff and ensuring it goes where you want it. The court will also determine who gets the assets and property of your estate. Generally, your spouse will get 50%, and your children will get 50%, no matter how many children you have.

What Should You Address In Your Will?

Everything or anything that you want to specifically go to someone. Especially if you have children, you want to name their guardians in your will so that someone can take care of them if you die unexpectedly. There are many things to think about, and many people don’t stop and think about them. Kobe Bryant’s passing was a wake-up call to many people. He seemed to have everything and was taken away so suddenly – that’s exactly how unpredictable life can be.

Is There Anything A Will Can’t Protect?

A will doesn’t protect anything. A will says who you want to receive your assets. A house has to go through probate because you can only pass it to someone without probate if you have it in a trust. A trust is a much better estate planning vehicle for what a will doesn’t protect. When you have beneficiary-driven assets such as a bank account, retirement and life insurance, that goes strictly straight to your beneficiary and doesn’t have to go to court. That is why some people can avoid probate if they don’t have a house.

If someone doesn’t have a house but has cars, furniture, paintings or other things they may want some people to have but are not worth $184,500, they don’t have to go through probate. Also, if you have $300,000 in a bank, you can make it a beneficiary-driven asset and avoid probate. However, you still need a will to cover other beneficiary-driven items.

Can A Will Include Incapacity Planning?

A will and a trust can name who you want as a conservator, but that person still needs to go to court to become the conservator. Just because you name a conservator or a guardian for your children, it doesn’t make them a guardian. You have to go to court to get the appropriate paperwork. For instance, in a case with children, if you pass away and name your sister to take care of your children, your sister has priority because those are your wishes, and the court will follow your wishes. But your sister can’t take your will and register the kids in school because she is only an official guardian once she gets the piece of paper from court that’s called letters of guardianship.

How Often Should You Review Or Update Your Will?

I tell my clients that they only need to update a will or a trust when something fundamental changes in their life or if they don’t want the executor to be the executor anymore. The same applies to a trust. In the trust, the executor position is called a successor trustee. If you don’t want that person, you need to change it. You also need to change the trust to add or remove beneficiaries. But for the most part, that’s it for changing your beneficiaries and who’s going to manage your estate. You must change a will or create an amendment to a trust if there’s a change in your life or preferences.

Can A Will Protect Assets For My Beneficiaries?

A will alone is enough to tell the court your wishes, but you still have to go through probate if you have a house. You must go to court if your estate is still more than $184,500. When you go to court with your will, that is enough for your assets to be distributed and to say who you want as a guardian. The guardian would then have to file another petition with the court to make it official. When a will goes to court for probate, it is a costly document.

As a result, every will in California gets a lawyer, and the executor or administrator gets 4% of the first $100,000. Then, they get 3% of the next 100,000, 2% of the next $100,000 up to $1 million, and 1% on $1 million plus. Most people in California have an estate worth $400,000 to $500,000.

Even a $300,000 estate can be expensive. That’s $9,000 to $13,000 that goes out of the estate to the attorney and another $9,000, $13,000 that goes to the executor administrator. In other words, that $18,000 to $26,000 gets paid before any creditors and any of your heirs. At a minimum, at least let the court lets people know what you want to happen.

After someone passes away, the will gets logged in the court. There’s a law that says you have to file a will in the jurisdiction where you live, and there are companies that try to find heirs – they have a way to access wills filed in all California counties.

Get Guidance From A Qualified California Wills Attorney Today

If you are looking to speak with a top wills lawyer in California, I hope that you would consider contacting me at your soonest convenience. I have offices in Folsom and Jackson – I would be happy to discuss the best way to meet your goals.

To schedule an initial, reduced-fee consultation, you can contact The Law Offices of Diane Anderson by phone at (209) 729-7477 or by visiting my contact page. I look forward to speaking with you.


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