For those who wish to leave property to specific heirs, it is imperative to have a Will drawn up. One issue that prevents many from having this important document prepared is the cost and the time spent in an attorney’s office. At the Law Office of Margaret B. Sharp, these services can be provided either as part of a full estate planning package for California residents or as an online service to any California resident who merely want an attorney to draw up specific legal estate planning documents on their behalf.
Many people avoid creating their estate plan because they believe it is too costly. You can minimize your cost by using our simple “document preparation” service which Ms. Sharp offers as part of her limited scope services. You pay only for those specific documents you need and not for a lot of in-office time.
Going without a Will at all is a mistake because it means that the State of California will determine who gets your property at your death through its intestacy laws. For some people, this may mean that people you do not have a close relationship with or even know may inherit your assets, depending on your circumstances. Will preparation is important whether you have $50,000 or $15,000,000 in assets. Keep in mind, if you die without any estate plan, the court will appoint an Administrator who will be paid a percentage of your assets as a fee for services rendered. Ultimately, this further diminishes the amount of money that will be given to your heirs.
Under California law, anyone who dies without a Will and has assets which are valued more than $150,000 or owns real estate valued at $50,000 or more is subject to having their estate settled through the probate court. You can control who gets your assets by taking the time to prepare a Will today. Note that if you want to avoid probate altogether, you must create and establish a living trust using our full service representation. Contact the Law Office of Margaret B. Sharp at (310) 841-0357 or use our online contact form to discuss your estate planning options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I avoid probate if I have a Will?
No. One aspect of the probate process involves proving that a deceased person’s Will is valid and if so, giving legal effect to his or her wishes as stated in the Will.
Can I make handwritten changes to my Will?
Making changes to your Will by crossing out some of the provisions and writing in by hand the changes you wish to make may create confusion as to your final intent, so those changes may not be approved by the court. The better practice is to speak with an attorney about what changes you want to make so that your wishes can be made known properly and given effect.
Is a Will valid if it is notarized?
A Will must be signed by at least two witnesses to be valid in California, unless it is a holographic Will. The Will does not need to be notarized, but if there is only one witness and a notary acknowledgment, the notary may be deemed to serve as a second witness.
Can an out of state resident be an Executor in California?
Yes, however, some courts in California will require that an out of state Executor be bonded even if the Will does not require a bond.
Does the absence of a self-proving affidavit invalidate a Will?
Not necessarily, although the court will require additional information in order to prove that the Will was validly signed under California.
Who are my heirs at law if I am single and I die without a Will?
If you are single and die without a Will, the State of California decides who will get your property. It passes first, to your children, if any; second to your parents, if you have no children; third, to your siblings, if your parents are deceased.