Corona Wills Lawyer
Corona Wills Attorney
While thinking about your future can seem daunting, it’s essential when it comes to protecting your loved ones, assets, and other belongings. In California, if you don’t have legal documentation of how you want affairs handled when you pass, the state will take over the process and handle it according to the legislation in place. A will is one of the best ways you can detail your wishes after you pass to protect your loved ones and assets. Estate planning works to help you create a legal plan for your future, including documents like wills, so that if anything were to happen to you, your affairs can be handled as you desire.
Christopher P. Walker: Your Corona Wills Attorney
Planning for your future can seem intimidating without the right help. Luckily, here at the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, our team is dedicated to making the estate planning process easier for everyone. With over two decades of experience practicing law, attorney Christopher P. Walker provides high-quality, compassionate services with the help of his extensive knowledge of the law. From administering probate to crafting a will unique to your situation, no other legal team provides the same services with the care that we do in Corona.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the area of the law that focuses on organizing your assets and the rest of your estate while you are still living so that you have a plan if anything were to happen to you in the future. If you become incapacitated or pass away, an estate plan created by you will be executed so that your wishes are still followed. You can detail who you want your assets to be passed on to, what will happen to your properties, and more. Planning your estate encompasses multiple different legal details, including:
- Creating a will or trust
- Determining division of assets
- Handling bank accounts and transferring funds
- Deciding power of attorney
- Making guardianship designations
- Detailing your personal wishes
Common Documents Included in Estate Plans
Every estate plan consists of a variety of documents that perform different functions, such as:
A will, sometimes referred to as a testament, is often the main focus of an estate plan. This is because a will is able to lay out someone’s personal and final wishes while also creating guidelines for how their assets should be divided. There are multiple different kinds of wills an individual can choose from, depending on what they think is best for their unique circumstances. All of them lay out personal intentions for what an individual wishes to happen to their assets, properties, bank accounts, etc. When you pass, your will is the most important document for your loved ones and your attorney so they can begin the probate process and follow your wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney
Assigning durable power of attorney is a crucial detail of any estate plan because it deals with issues while you are still living. By granting someone durable power of attorney, they have the right to make any non-medical-related decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to. This document serves as an agreement that you allow the person designated to make decisions if you become incapacitated or disabled in any way.
A trust is a document that requires three different parties: a grantor, a trustee, and a beneficiary. The grantor can create a trust and determine which of their assets go into it. From there, they appoint a trustee who is in charge of managing the trust and the assets inside. The grantor also assigns a beneficiary, who is the person that will take ownership of and benefit from the assets that were put into the trust.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is another essential detail in your estate plan that applies to matters while you are still living. By setting up a medical power of attorney, you grant the right to another person to make important medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated. If you have specific wishes about the medical care you may receive, your medical power of attorney can express your needs on your behalf and ensure that you receive the care you would want.
Personal Letter of Intent
A personal letter of intent is a formal document that outlines any other wishes and personal intentions an individual may have but didn’t detail in any of the other documents. This document varies greatly from person to person, with some people just writing heartfelt letters to their families and others outlining specific things they wish to be done when they pass. Adding a personal letter of intent to your estate plan ensures that all your wishes are seen, heard, and respected.
Why Is a Will Important to an Estate Plan?
A will is one of the most influential parts of an estate plan because it specifically outlines the requests of an individual once they pass. A person’s will can detail how they want their assets divided and who those assets are going to, as well as emphasizing any other personal wishes they might have. Without a will or legal documentation of your final wishes, the division of your assets, along with the rest of the probate process, will be taken over by the state. If this happens, your assets most likely won’t be divided how you intended, and the state will instead follow the legal process that Corona, California has in place. This may also cause the transferring of your assets to your loved ones to be taxed more heavily than if you had a will in place. A will is the most personal way you can plan for your future while still addressing all the legalities required.
How Do You Craft a Will?
Crafting a will can be complicated, especially if you don’t know where to start. When working with an experienced wills lawyer, you’ll most likely follow these steps when creating a simple will:
- Asses What You Want to Include
Before creating a will, the first thing you need to do is consider all the different assets you’ll want to include. Properties, cars, bank accounts, retirement funds, art, furniture, jewelry, and more, can all be included in a will if you have specific wishes for how you want them to be divided. Most likely, you’ll also have to gather details on the monetary values of your different assets.
- Provide Specific Details for Division of Assets>
Once you have an idea of everything you want to include in your will, you’ll then begin to craft it. For each asset you list, you should provide details such as what the asset is, its monetary value, and the beneficiary that you would like to receive it. When drafting your will, make sure you are as specific as possible and provide in-depth details on how you would like your assets handled. This way, when your will is read by your attorney and the probate process begins, your wishes can be fulfilled as closely as possible.
- List Your Beneficiaries
Every will has a different number of beneficiaries. Some people have multiple beneficiaries because they have large families, and others sometimes just simply list one beneficiary to handle everything. Once you’ve detailed the different assets you’d like to pass down in your will, you’ll then need to make sure you list your chosen beneficiaries for each asset. For financial assets, you’ll need to include the names of the beneficiaries as well as the percentage of the asset you’re passing onto them.
- Assign an Executor of an Estate
The executor of your estate is the individual you choose to read your will and final testaments to your loved ones, which is most often your wills or estate planning lawyer. When choosing an executor, it’s important to find someone impartial to the situation who can be trusted to handle everything properly and not be persuaded by any loved ones trying to change your requests.
- Designate Guardianship of Children (If Applicable)
Many people decide to create a will once they have children in case something were to happen to them. If applicable, one important detail of your will is assigning guardianship of your children who are under the age of 18 to an adult you trust. This way, you can find peace of mind knowing that if you were to become incapacitated or pass away, your children would be taken care of by someone that you trust.
- Have Your Will Witnessed and Notarized
After your will has been drafted, you must sign and date it. In the state of California, the creator of the will, along with two impartial witnesses, must sign the will in order for it to be legally valid at the time of the creator’s passing. Though your will does not have to be notarized in California, many people have it done to ensure their will doesn’t have any legal issues in the future.
What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?
When crafting an estate plan, many people are unsure of whether they should create a will or trust. A will is a legal document that is created while the client is still living and is only put into action when the creator passes away. It outlines how the creator wants assets to be divided, lists their beneficiaries, and can also provide the ability for an executor to create a trust if they see fit.
A trust, however, is a legal document that is more focused on transferring ownership of assets. They also outline how the creator wishes for assets to be divided and their beneficiaries, but a trust often includes specific guidelines on how these assets must be handled. For example, many people use a trust to transfer ownership of a business from one person to the next. In that trust, there are guidelines that must be upheld for the trustee to acquire and keep the business. Trusts also differ from wills in that they can become effective while the creator is still living.
Most Common Kinds of Wills
There are multiple different kinds of wills, all of which can either stand alone or be part of an estate plan. At the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, our team can help you craft whatever will fits your needs best. The most commonly used wills include:
Last Will and Testament (Simple Will)
The most widely known will is also the most traditional, which is referred to as someone’s last will and testament. This kind of will outlines the creator’s wishes for when they pass, how they would like assets divided, and their beneficiaries. In order for a simple will to be valid under California law, a physical copy must exist with two signatures from “disinterested parties.” The biggest difference between a simple will and other kinds of wills is that they often contain more personal details. Simple wills have no specific length and can also address issues such as guardianship of minors if a parent passes away.
A living will differs from a traditional will because it can become active while the creator is still alive. In most cases, living wills are created to address the different circumstances that may occur if the individual were to become incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions. A living will often details the creator’s wishes regarding different forms of medical care they may receive if something were to happen to them. This kind of will can speak for you if you’re unable to speak for yourself.
Sometimes called a mirror will, a joint will is a legal document shared by a couple that outlines their requests for the future if something were to happen to them. By creating a joint will, couples can merge their shared intentions into one document that is used when either partner becomes incapacitated or passes away. In most cases, a joint will transfers all assets from one partner to the other if one passes away.
Testamentary Trust Will
A testamentary trust will, sometimes referred to as a will trust, combines the aspects of both legal documents to create an estate plan that fits the creator’s needs. In a testamentary trust will, a trust is created within the will that does not become active until the creator is no longer living, similar to a traditional will. It can also be used to detail how the creator wants assets to be divided and their beneficiaries.
Most Common Types of Trusts
There are two main categories of trusts:
A revocable trust is a trust that is created while the grantor is still alive and can be altered or legally terminated at any point in their lifetime. Often known as “living trusts,” these documents can transfer the ownership of a business or other assets while the grantor is still alive and put them in the hands of their trustee. Living trusts can also outline the creator’s wishes for after they pass away.
An irrevocable trust is the opposite of a revocable trust, meaning that once the trust becomes active and ownership is transferred, nothing can be altered or terminated. Many people use irrevocable trusts when they are confident in transferring asset ownership and want to avoid the taxes that often accompany it. Once an irrevocable trust becomes active, the trustee is in charge and the grantor will have no power over it or the assets any longer.
The Advantages of Working With a Wills Attorney
Creating a will is just one of the many complicated aspects that are part of planning your future. A few of the advantages that come along with working with an accomplished wills attorney include:
Ensuring Everything Is Done Legally
Creating wills and estate plans involves a variety of different personal and legal details. Because of this, making sure you create an estate plan with documents that follow the legal requirements of your state is critical. If your estate plan doesn’t meet the legal guidelines created by the state of California, the government may be able to take over the probate process when you pass. Working with an experienced wills attorney ensures that your plans are created correctly and legally, giving you some peace of mind for the future.
Experience in the Field
A wills attorney is qualified to deal with a wide range of legal elements that come up when someone begins making documents for their future. With their extensive experience and knowledge of the law, your attorney can offer you advice and guide you through the process of estate planning and will creation. They can assist in complex situations and help you figure out what’s best for you right now and in the future. With the help of your wills attorney, you’ll be able to create a will that addresses all of your essential wishes for when you pass.
Help You Create Wills, Trusts, and Other Important Documents
Creating wills and trusts can be difficult, especially if you don’t have much experience with the law. Working with a wills attorney can make the process of creating and instating your wills much easier than when you’re on your own. Your lawyer can also give you advice and help you determine how to best set up your estate plan, divide assets, and more. If you’re looking to just create a will without the other aspects of an estate plan, working with a wills lawyer may be the best option for you. Having a wills attorney also allows you to update your important legal documents quickly. With the help of your lawyer, you can edit documents like wills and trusts if they are eligible, much quicker than when trying to do so on your own.
Easier Probate Process / Reduce Potential Taxes
The probate process can be a long and complicated one, especially if your loved one passed away without a will or any legal documentation of their wishes. Working with an attorney to create an estate plan or last will and testament can help the loved ones you leave behind have a much easier probate process. This is because you not only put a plan in place but your attorney can be assigned as your executor and help the process move along quickly. It can also help them avoid the hassle of other government taxes that occur when assets are divided from an estate.
Can I Make a Will Without a Full Estate Plan?
In short, the answer is yes. If you believe that you don’t need a full estate plan and are happy with what a will covers, then creating a valid will is enough to properly have your assets handed down when you pass. An estate plan covers a variety of different areas, such as potential healthcare emergencies or situations where you become incapacitated. Most wills, on the other hand, only cover the division of assets, beneficiaries, and potential guardians of minor children. If you’re looking to create a will without the hassle of making an entire estate plan, working with one of our wills attorneys is the best option for you.
Creating Your Will in Corona Today
There’s no better time to start thinking about your future than right now. Because you never know what might happen, making a legal plan in the event that anything happens to you is essential.
Here at the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker, we understand just how unpredictable the future can be. That’s why our team is dedicated to providing high-quality legal services that help individuals and families better prepare for the coming years. Having a will is one of the best ways you can ensure that both your loved ones and your assets are taken care of the way you wish. Whether you’re looking to draft a simple will or you want to create a living will as part of your estate plan, our experienced wills attorneys are prepared to help.
To learn more about our different legal services and how we may be able to help you, feel free to contact our team today.