People in California know that everyone needs a will. It’s an important document that spells out what is to become of a person’s assets after they die, and in many ways is a person’s only means of communication with friends and family members after death. For that reason, a lot of time and effort can go into the will decision-making process, but unfortunately not enough people spend enough time making sure that the will itself is correctly written and legally valid. People who try to write a will on their own may end up making some serious mistakes which could in some cases nullify the will entirely, or lead to costly and avoidable legal challenges as to the validity of the will or its execution.
Once a will is written, this isn’t necessarily the end of the road, either. Life changes quickly and unexpectedly, and people who try to alter or amend their will on their own may make crucial mistakes that could cost them dearly in the long run.
A will is essential and deserves special attention, but it’s not the only estate planning tool most people need to ensure their assets and personal property are protected from unnecessary taxation and probate after they die. In addition to a will, people should consider setting up one or more kinds of trusts, which can be used to ensure property passes to the proper people, and in the proper manner, without any hitches.
Even a person who doesn’t want to change their will could see their circumstances change just by virtue of the vagaries of the world around them. Estate and trusts laws change every year, and people need to stay up to date on how these changes may affect them. For people who don’t want to spend hours and hours doing painstaking legal research on their own each year, an experienced California estates and trusts attorney can give people the guidance and assistance they need to keep their estate plan up to speed and well-prepared for future contingencies.
Source: Findlaw, “5 Things an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can’t),” Daniel Taylor, June 18, 2014