You think you have decades before you'll need a will, so you don't bother to write one. Then you pass away in a car accident far sooner than you assumed. You've now passed away without an estate plan, so what happens to your estate?
It's easy to put off writing a will. You feel like you have a lot of time to get it done, the legal process can be confusing and you think you'll be better prepared when you're closer to the end of your life. These are just three potential reasons, but people can give you nearly an endless list of reasons they haven't written a will.
Human relationships can be endlessly complicated -- especially among families. As unpleasant as it may be, you may have some very good reasons to disinherit a potential heir.
You could shop around online and find a cookie-cutter will template. However, that is a very big risk. Many estate planners have made significant mistakes when creating a "do-it-yourself" will or trust document. There are just too many things that can go wrong, and too many headaches and costly expenses that your family will have to endure if you make a mistake. It's worthwhile to rely on the experience of an estate planning attorney to ensure that you draft a sound and valid will.
If you're a person who loves having pets, the last thing you'd want to see is your pet being mistreated or left alone after your death. Whether you have horses, dogs, cats, fish or other animals, it's a good idea to include them in your will.
Many California residents have not completed the most basic element of an estate plan: the last will and testament. If you ask them, they'll say something like, "I'm going to do it soon. I just haven't had the time." Or they'll say, "I'll take care of it before the end of the year." But what if today is your last day? What if you die next week and you leave your family without the most vital piece of estate planning documentation?
When you create your will, it is always best to consider how the terms of the will may affect the people that you include or exclude from it. For many families, unequal bequests in a will can create strong rifts between family members who feel that they were treated unfairly. While your wishes are your own and you have the freedom to leave your property to anyone that you'd like, it is always a good idea to think ahead and anticipate how certain bequests may create conflict.
The way that movies and television shows portray the reading of a deceased person's will, it often seems as though it is one of the first things that occurs when that person breathes their last breath. In reality, the reading of a will is often not done until some time after its creator passes away, sometimes for a week or more.
Recently, news broke that music legend Aretha Franklin —one of the most influential and widely loved artists of her generation — passed away without any sort of estate planning in place. Not only did she die without a trust to hold her assets, she did not have a will in place either.
If you've ever had a conversation about end of life wishes or estate planning, then you probably know that every person should have a will if they own any property at all and care about what happens to it when they die. Unfortunately, simply creating a will is not enough; the will must be legally sound in order for a court to uphold it.