Beyond funeral and burial preferences, a will should provide clear instructions for distributing your assets. For example, if you want specific family members to inherit heirlooms or other items, you can define these beneficiary designations in your will. However, some types of property, typically those with their own beneficiary designations, are most likely to generate disputes in estate administration. A few examples of the types of assets that most often pose beneficiary designation conflicts include:
- Joint tenancy property.
- Life insurance policies.
- Retirement accounts.
- Stocks and bonds with beneficiary designations.
- Payable-on-death bank accounts.
Your Costa Mesa wills lawyer can help you examine all existing accounts and assets with beneficiary designations, ensuring they align with your current preferences and will not create conflict during the administration of your estate. For example, if you have a life insurance policy you created during a previous marriage, your ex-spouse could still be listed as the primary beneficiary of this account. So, if you have since remarried and intend to create a will, you will need to revise the beneficiary information on that life insurance policy and verify that the terms of your will reflect the beneficiary designation on the life insurance policy.
To start creating your will, you must provide your attorney with extensive financial records and a complete list of all the assets and property you intend to leave to your family. This includes pets, family heirlooms, furniture, vehicles, and other specific items. Once you have compiled a complete list of everything your will must include, you can begin working on your beneficiary designations.
Many people choose to leave everything to their spouses to distribute as they see fit, but it’s typically best to be more specific in describing your preferences and expectations. Consider which family members you want to receive certain assets and include these designations in your will. If you plan to create a testamentary trust will or a living trust, it’s important to include your selection of a trustee. You can also include secondary or even tertiary choices if the person you select is unable or unwilling to handle the responsibility.
Creating an estate plan may be a tedious and stressful process, but it is well worth the effort once you consider how much frustration and expense it will potentially spare your loved ones after your death. Whenever a person dies without any estate plan, their loved ones face a complicated probate process. The final disbursement of the deceased’s property hinges entirely on the state’s law of intestate succession. Probate is also highly prone to generating conflicts among family members when the deceased does not leave behind any instructions for handling their property.
Working with an experienced Costa Mesa wills attorney is the best way to eliminate confusion and streamline the will creation process. When you choose the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker to assist you in the creation of your will, we can help you determine which type of will best suit your needs and unique situation, and we can help you decide whether additional estate planning documents would best complement your will. If you are ready to start creating your will, contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker today and schedule a consultation with an experienced Costa Mesa wills attorney.