A will is typically just one part of a properly designed estate plan. If you do not have a will, your estate will pass “intestate” according to the laws of California. Even if you have a will, or choose to have one drafted on your behalf, there are a few things you should know:
- If you have minor children, a will is used to determine guardianship if both parents have passed. This keeps your family from waging war with each other over the care of your children and allows them to expend their energy on the children's behalf instead.
- A will speaks only upon your death, so any matter that occurs while you are still alive will not be affected by the execution of a valid will.
- It will not keep your estate out of the probate court. Simply, it is a set of instructions to the probate court on how you would like your estate to pass, rather than passing according to the State's intestacy laws. You should know that the probate process can take an extended amount of time and have excessive costs.
A will alone can handle some aspects of your estate, but not all. In a comprehensive plan, the will is used in conjunction with a revocable living trust to protect your estate. This type of will is often called a pour over will. Visit our pour-over will page to learn more on how that document can benefit your estate plan.