Whether you consider your California estate simple and basic or complex and high-net-worth, you can protect your assets and provide for your loved ones’ futures by crafting a solid estate plan. While there are state laws that must be met for estate documents to be valid and legally enforceable, there are no set rules for which documents you include or omit from a particular plan. A document most people incorporate as part of the estate planning process is a testamentary will, otherwise known as a last will and testament.
There are several types of wills. Whichever style you use, you must have two witnesses who sign your will at the same time you do. This is a law in California. If you do not comply with the laws regarding witnesses for a testamentary will and someone contests it, a probate judge may rule it invalid.
Goals you can accomplish by signing a will
When you execute a last will and testament, you may designate an executor to your estate. This person accepts the responsibility of gathering and distributing your assets after you die, as well as overseeing the payment of estate taxes and any debts owed to creditors. There several other goals you can accomplish by signing a will:
- Donate funds to charities.
- Leave instructions for what becomes of businesses you own.
- List beneficiaries who will inherit part or all of your estate.
- Designate guardians for your minor children.
In addition to the basic issues you can address in a last will and testament, your estate plan may also include documents, such as an advance directive, financial power of attorney and a revocable or irrevocable trust.
For guidance and support regarding the estate planning process, especially how to execute a testamentary will, you can request a meeting at the Law Office of Raoul J. LeClerc, in California. This can be a first step toward creating a plan that aligns with your family’s values and goals. You can also rely on experienced legal guidance down the line to make any changes or updates to your estate plan, as needed.