Last Will and Testament Lawyer in Tracy, CA

Last Will and Testament Lawyers You Can Count On

Discover peace of mind with Bakerink, McCusker & Belden’s last will and testament services in Tracy, CA. Planning for the future is a responsible and essential step in ensuring your wishes are honored, and your loved ones are cared for. Our seasoned team of estate planning lawyers in Tracy is dedicated to helping you create a comprehensive last will and testament that reflects your desires and provides clarity for your family. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards securing your estate and peace of mind.

Last Will and Testament Document

What Is a Will?

A will, often called a last will and testament, is a legal document outlining a person’s wishes and instructions for distributing their assets and property after death. This document is a crucial component of estate planning and allows individuals to specify how they want their estate to be divided among heirs, beneficiaries, or charitable organizations. In a will, a person can name an executor responsible for ensuring that the will’s provisions are carried out according to the law. Wills can cover various aspects, including naming guardians for minor children, designating who should receive specific assets, and even addressing funeral or burial preferences.

Requirements of a Valid Will in California

 Certain requirements must be met to create a legally valid will in California. These requirements ensure that your will accurately represents your intentions and complies with California law:

  • Age and Mental Capacity – You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind and memory.
  • Voluntary Creation – Your will must be created freely and voluntarily without improper pressure or influence from individuals who hold power over you.
  • Written Format – The will must be written, whether handwritten or typed, but a digital copy or oral will is not considered valid in California.
  • Witnesses – You must sign your will in the presence of at least two competent and disinterested witnesses who also sign it simultaneously.
  • Limitations on Beneficiaries – In your will, you can only name beneficiaries for your personal property and, if married, your share of community property. Community property rules apply if you’re married.

What Happens When a Person Dies With a Will but No Trust?

After the testator’s passing, a probate process is necessary for transferring non-beneficiary assets if the total estate value exceeds $184,500, including the full value of their home, not just the equity. For estates valued under $184,500, Small Estate Affidavits can be used, typically without the need for legal assistance. During a full probate, the process starts with validating the will and appointing an executor or administrator. If the will is deemed invalid, the “laws of intestacy” may be applied for asset distribution. In contested probate cases, parties may reach agreements subject to court approval.

Couple Signing Their Last Will and Testament with a Lawyer in Tracy, CA

Non-probate Assets

 In California, intestacy rules solely pertain to assets that undergo the probate process. However, specific assets referred to as non-probate assets bypass probate and are directly passed to the individuals you’ve named as beneficiaries. Notable examples of non-probate assets include your 401(k) account and life insurance policy. It is crucial to designate distinct beneficiaries for these assets and regularly update those designations to ensure they align with your current wishes.

Revoking and Changing a Will

 In California, you can revoke your will before passing through several methods: deliberately destroying it by burning, tearing, shredding, or discarding it; enlisting someone to destroy it in your presence; or creating a new will. A more recent will typically supersedes prior ones, provided it explicitly states the revocation of previous wills and codicils. Notably, if your marriage or domestic partnership ends, any gifts assigned to your partner are automatically revoked unless specified otherwise in your will.

Why Choose Bakerink McCusker & Belden

 In Tracy, CA, Bakerink, McCusker & Belden is committed to empowering you with the legal tools to secure your legacy and protect your loved ones through our last will and testament services. Your peace of mind is our priority, and our experienced estate planning lawyers are here to ensure your wishes are honored. Don’t delay this important decision any longer. Contact us now and embark on the path to a secure and well-planned future.