Newman Law Group

Should wills be simple or formal?

Estate planning need not be a difficult or overwhelming task. When people in California think about writing wills, they be at a loss as to where to begin. The question isn't so much what the estate plan should consist of but rather what is the right estate plan for the individual or individuals who are creating it.

Simple wills may suffice when there is likely to be no probate required. This would typically apply to estates with values below $150,000. The exception is when assets are going to a surviving spouse. Probate is not required in this instance regardless of the amount of the estate, though a spousal property petition may be required.

If an estate is at or above $150,000 and there are beneficiaries named in addition to a surviving spouse, then probate may be needed. In this instance, a formal will is better designed for dealing with the possible probate issues. Wills don't only specify a person's final wishes regarding disbursement of his or her assets. A formal will may also contain important instructions regarding probate that may be missing in a simple will.

People in California considering establishing a will may wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Wills are a good idea as failure to have one could result in one's assets not being handled according to one's wishes. An experienced attorney can review a person's assets and other financial information and assist hm or her in coming up with an appropriate plan. Having a well crafted plan in place will ensure that one's final wishes are carried out.

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