Regardless of how substantial or modest an estate is, estate planning is essential. By working with an estate planning lawyer in Tracy or Livermore, you can ensure that your final wishes will be carried out. It’s not uncommon for individuals to try to handle their own estate planning needs. However, this is usually not a good idea. An estate planning attorney can help you with so much more than just drafting your will; he or she will make sure your will is valid and can be upheld in court. Your attorney can also help you make informed decisions by explaining estate planning options that you may not yet be aware of.
What Happens If I Die Intestate?
When a person dies intestate, it means that he or she has passed on without a will. After this occurs, that individual’s estate is subject to division according to state laws. Typically, assets are distributed to immediate family members, such as the surviving spouse and children. This could be problematic for those who do not want their assets to go to these individuals.
What Is Probate?
State laws for probate vary. In general, however, it is the process by which a will is recognized as valid and the executor is given the authority to distribute assets. Probate is supervised by the court. It is possible to avoid probate by transferring assets to a trust. If a trust is created, a trustee will transfer assets to the appropriate parties after your death.
How Is a Will Made Valid?
Ensuring that the will is valid is one of the many benefits of having a lawyer handle your estate planning. In order to execute a will, you must sign it in front of witnesses.
What Happens If I Own Joint Property?
There are some limitations on what a will can and can’t do. For example, it cannot direct the transfer of jointly owned property. For example, if you own a house with your spouse, full ownership will transfer to your spouse upon your death. Joint ownership offers some advantages. If you wish, you can add a family member’s name to a bank account, for example, and specify that the individual has the right of survivorship. This means that upon your death, that individual would have access to funds in that account to pay your bills and funeral expenses.