Within the estate planning process, a will may be the only document that you create in order to pass down your family assets. A will, or last will and testament, is a legal document that specifies how you want your property distributed after you die. You are able to stay in control of your estate and ensure that your family is given their fair share of the estate, even after you pass away. By speaking with a San Jose probate and estate planning attorney, you can discuss your options in the matter and get started immediately!
In addition to a last will and testament, there are pour-over wills and living wills. A pour-over will is seen as a safety net that ensures that any property you fail to transfer over to your living trust during your lifetime will be transferred to your trust through the probate process. It will transfer all non-trust assets to your trust that is not controlled by beneficiary designations or by ownership with a joint tenant.
Your goal is to avoid probate by ensuring that your pour-over will controls nothing. You must transfer all your assets to your trust during your life to avoid probate. Your will is merely your backup to ensure that all your assets are ultimately controlled by your living trust.
A living will is a document that informs your doctors whether you want extraordinary medical measures taken. These extraordinary measures especially include those that would cause you pain or discomfort, if those measures would only prolong the dying process. This is an essential document to any comprehensive estate plan as it ‘backs up’ the advanced health care directive and eliminates such decisions to be made by your loved ones.
Within the will, you are to appoint an executor who becomes responsible for managing your affairs, distributing your property and settling any debt that is owed. The executor is typically an individual that you can trust and that has your best interest in mind. By selecting someone that is not entirely trustworthy, this may cause disputes within the estate and unhappiness amongst your loved ones once you pass away.
In order for estate administration within a will to begin, the will must be determined as a valid document by a judge of the probate court. Once considered valid, the process can begin. The judge will then appoint the executor specified within the will to begin their duties.
As noted before, the executor will gather all of your property, pay any creditors’ bills and distribute your remaining property as specified within the will. My goal within your will is to reflect your individual requests. By doing so, you can feel safe in knowing that you family is protected and assets are secured.
Do you need an attorney to help you establish a will in San Jose? For legal assistance in creating a will, contact Henshaw & Henry, PC.