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Matt Williams Law Firm :: Wills

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WILLS

If you die without a will or living trust, you die "intestate," and the laws of California determine how your estate is distributed. The problem with this is that your estate might not be distributed the way that you'd prefer. You can avoid this by having a "last will and testament" drafted that, among other things, allows you to do the following:

1. Give your property to those you select, whether it's your spouse, partner, children, other relatives, friends, or charity, including making specific bequests to specific individuals;

2. Appoint someone (an executor) to handle your property after your death;

3. Nominate someone (a guardian) to care for your minor children if you die before they reach adulthood (age 18);

4. Select someone (a trustee or custodian) to manage property that you leave for your minor children;

5. Provide special provisions for loved ones who are seriously ill or otherwise unable to handle an inheritance; and

6. If you so desire, forgive debts that are owed to you.

If you have a living trust, why do you still need a will? Having a will is prudent for several reasons even if you have a living trust. First, if you have minor children, a will allows you to nominate a guardian and trustee/custodian to manage your estate for them until they reach adulthood. Second, there are some assets such as checking accounts or motor vehicles that you generally should not include in a living trust; a will therefore permits you to give such assets to specific beneficiaries. Finally, a will allows you to name beneficiaries for any property or assets you fail to include in your living trust, such as an inheritance or real estate that you acquire before your unexpected death.


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