A will is a written legal document with instructions for disposing of assets after death. To be effective in California, a will must be witnessed by two people who are present at the signing of the will. It also acts as a “catch-all” document to ensure that any assets or properties that the individual forgot to place in the trust are poured over into the trust. The will can only be enforced through the probate court.
A will also allows an individual to choose a guardian for his or her minor children. If you fail to choose a guardian for your children in your will, it will be up to the court to decide which individual will be given custody. This poses a difficult problem as you may not necessarily have chosen that individual to be guardian after you pass away. If you want to make sure to protect your children, it is best to create a will and list the guardian of your choosing, and not leave it up a judge who is unfamiliar with your family relationships. The Law Offices of Cheri E. Michaelis can help you draft a legally valid will that will correctly state your successor guardians, should you need them, and act as a “catch-all” for all of the assets or properties in your estate.
A living trust is a legal document created and funded by you with your assets to be administered during your lifetime and after you pass away. If you create a trust, you are allowed to choose your beneficiaries and choose a trustee to help facilitate the distribution process. This will ensure that you and your family are protected while also avoiding the probate process that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This is one of the most important estate planning documents to have and there are a variety of trusts that can be drafted for you and your family in different situations including:
Contact the Law Offices of Cheri E. Michaelis today and we would be happy to work with you on developing the perfect estate trust suited for your specific needs.