Wills & other documents
Have your will drafted by a skilled Irvine and Orange County estate planning attorney
The Last Will and Testament is undoubtedly the most well-known estate planning tool. In California, a will is a document that you can create to provide instructions on the distribution of your assets and property at the time of your death. When drafted in a legally sound manner and implemented in conjunction with a living trust, this document can provide assistance to your loved ones when determining your final affairs. If you are looking to draft a will, a highly knowledgeable Irvine estate planning lawyer from The Werner Law Firm can guide you through the process and help you plan for future with ease.
Reasons to hire our award-winning law firm!
• 10 Best 2016 Client Satisfaction – Estate Planning Division – AILC
• Selection for Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys by the NADC
• Avvo "Superb" score (L. Rob Werner)
• Nearly 40 Years in Business
• "Attorney of the Year" by SCV Bar Association
• "Best Attorney" Award Winner by A Daily News Readers' Choice
• "Best Of SCV" Award Past Five Years in a Row
• Voted "Top 40 Under 40" by SCV Business Journal (Troy Werner)
To discuss your customized Irvine & Orange County Will Drafting options:
call 800-752-9937 for a free evaluation or via our contact form
What Does a Will Do?
A properly drafted will can do the following:
Establish the rightful heirs to a person’s property
Establish guardians for minor children
Name an executor of your estate
It is important to note, however, that your will does not cover everything. Life insurance, retirement plans, assets held in living trusts, and jointly-owned property cannot be affected by a person’s will. Your will must be signed by you and at least two witnesses in order to be finalized in California. Unlike other states, notarization is not required for a will to be legally binding. Should you decide to change the terms of your will or desire to revoke it entirely before you pass away, this can be accomplished by creating a “codicil” with the assistance of an attorney. A codicil is a document that allows you to amend or change the terms of your will and is drafted in a similar fashion.
Wills Do Not Avoid Probate
Wills can be a good estate planning tool in some situations where there is little or no real property involved. A will, combined with beneficiary designations on financial accounts, can work effectively in some situations. However, a will is not intended to avoid probate. Naming a beneficiary in a will simply advises who you want to have receive those assets. Where there is real property left in your name, the beneficiaries you designate in your will would still have to go through probate or a probate procedure in order to effect that transfer of ownership. Probate cases can be expensive and can sometimes take over a year to complete. In probate cases, statutory probate fees are based off of the gross value of the estate:
4% of first $100,000 of estate
3% of second $100,000 of estate
2% of next 800,000 of estate.
That means that if the estate is worth $400,000, the statutory fees you would pay would be $9,000. Filing fees and miscellaneous costs (publication in a legal newspaper, etc.) would bring the total probate fees and costs up to around $11,000. When considering the amount of money and time that loved ones would have to put into a probate case, a living trust is a much preferred and easier alternative.
Why Do I Need a Will or Trust?
If you pass away without creating a will or trust, California will handle the distribution of your estate based on “intestacy” law. In simple terms, this means that the state will give your property to your closest living relatives. If you have no living relatives by blood or marriage, the state will inherit your property. When the state is tasked with handling a person’s estate, the outcome will oftentimes contradict what the deceased person would have actually wanted. For this reason, creating a will or trust ahead of time and periodically reviewing its terms is crucial to ensuring your wishes are honored.
At The Werner Law Firm, our firm’s highly trained estate planning lawyers in Irvine, California have helped countless clients secure their futures throughout our more than 40 years of legal practice. Our experienced legal professionals are equipped with the knowledge to help you plan for nearly all of life’s “what if” scenarios, allowing you to face your future with confidence. Protecting the rights of our clients is our top priority, and we eager to sit down with you and help you create a custom-tailored estate plan that best fits your needs.
Other Estate Planning Documents
A Living Will is a document where an individual states their health care wishes with regard to life support. For instance, most people have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) provision in their living will, stating that they do not want to be maintained on life support if they are in an irreversable coma. Alternatively, they can specify they want to be maintained on life support for a specific amount of time, or leave the decision up to their family members.
Durable Power of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directive (Health Care Power of Attorney)
These documents allow individuals to name a family member, friend, or another individual to act on their behalf to make financial and health care decisions for them should they have dementia, be in a coma, or be otherwise unable to make decisions. These documents are vital to have in place, as they may be the only way for family members to access the individual’s funds to pay their bills, medical expenses, and to generally take care of them. If these documents are not in place, the alternative is to go through a long and involved Conservatorship proceeding through court. These are simple documents to set up and can save a great deal of money, time, and headaches.
To discuss your customized Irvine Will and Living Will options: call 800-752-9937 for a free evaluation or via our contact form