It’s easy to push off creating a Will to another day. But what happens when that day becomes months, and those months turn into a year or years? What happens when you die without a Will? Unfortunately, the consequences can be a complicated mess for the loved ones left behind. You’ll be putting your loved ones in an even more difficult situation both financially and emotionally.
Regardless if you’re young or old, rich or poor, married or single, have children or are childless, we strongly encourage you to consider creating a Will. Of course, if you are single or childless, you might be asking yourself, “what will happen to my assets?” and “who should I appoint as my decision maker?” Kam Law Firm is here to give you insight into why you need a Will attorney when you’re single and childless.
First, What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document where you identify who you want to inherit your assets. It also identifies who will serve as your Executor to manage the process of transferring your assets to the rightful heirs. A Will can help ensure your last wishes are carried out, but it won’t avoid probate.
Do I Need a Will Attorney if I’m Single and Childless?
Yes. Without a Will (also known as dying intestate), the California Probate Code will decide who will inherit your assets. These individuals may or may not be the ones you would have selected. On top of that, there are other estate-planning components that are not property-related that you’ll need to address (regardless of your marital and parental state).
Additionally, it’s not just enough to create a Will. It’s important that your Will receives proper validation and enforcement. Hiring a Will attorney who is experienced with probate is crucial to ensure your Will is properly drafted.
But we know making the time is easier said than done. These decisions can be hard enough for those with a family or close friends, but this task might be daunting if you don’t have any close relationships.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to ensure certain assets get to the right beneficiary. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, and many investment accounts can be beneficiary designated. This means you can fill out a form with the institution, directly naming a pay on death beneficiary. This is different than adding someone to your account. That is rarely the right decision as it gives the individual the ability to liquidate your assets and may make them subject to the creditors of your family member.
There are still issues with beneficiary designations. For example, if they are not kept up to date, the wrong person will inherit. You may also forget to update these after divorce or changes in relationships and the institution will only pay out to whomever you’ve named, regardless. Additionally, minors can’t receive assets directly so court intervention will be required to set up a guardianship of the estate. These issues should be discussed with an estate planning attorney who will be able to put together the best plan possible to minimize the risk of court intervention.
Why Is it a Big Mistake to Draft Your Will Yourself?
A Handwritten Will Can Make The Will Unvalidated
Also known as a holographic Will, these types of Wills have very different and specific legal requirements that differ from Wills drafted by a Will attorney. If you do want to write your own Will, you will need to thoroughly read the California Probate Code, find the applicable law, and interpret it correctly. While this sounds simple in theory, lawyers who spend three years in school then extensively study for the bar exam, still only have a 50% pass rate in the state of California.
Even more so, the implications of crossing out a line or gift in your handwritten Will can make for a messy and complicated court process.
The Attorney Can Help You Save Time and Avoid Common Mistakes
There are plenty of online resource for writing a Will; however, you do need to read a variety of online resources before you even start. This could end up taking you hours upon hours and you still won’t know whether or not the information is accurate. Conversely, a Will attorney can ask a few simple questions and will be able to draft up a Will in a timely manner. Furthermore, while you may think you just need a “simple will”, a will attorney also knows what other legal documents you need and the best way to minimize probate litigation. An individual simply won’t know because they didn’t go to school for that.
Although online resources are available to make a will, they don’t provide the attorney attention necessary to avoid mistakes. Typically they have clients fill out a form. But a client does not and should not know what legal issues to look for and a form won’t reveal everything the attorney needs to know. The client meeting brings to the surface issues the client may not realize are issues. The attorney’s job is to issue spot and understand the right questions to ask in order to obtain the information needed to protect your estate plan. An experienced Will attorney knows it all to make sure your Will is written the right way the first time around.
What If You Get Married in The Future or Have Children and Want to Change the Will?
The nice thing about a Will is that you can continuously update it as your life situations change. And it’s important to do so, too! For example, if you initially created a Will when you were single, but now you’re married or have children, the probate code will assume you meant to provide them with a gift and will give a percentage of your estate to them. Sometimes that is the result one is seeking, but often people would still want to provide for an ill parent and now that gift will be significantly reduced.
Even if you haven’t had a big life event, we still encourage you to take a quick glance at your Will. This will help avoid creating problems for anyone upon your passing. Hiring a Will attorney in San Diego can ensure that the right clauses and verbiage is used given your new life situation.
Why Might You Need a Living Trust?
Another key question that can come up when single and childless, “who will be my decision maker should I become incapacitated?” This is where a living Will, also known as an Advance Health Care Directive, steps in. In this document, you can list your wishes regarding medical care if you are on life support or have a terminal condition.
Having your wishes written out will guide your proxy’s decision making when it comes to medical-related issues. Although this won’t ease the pain of loss of a family member, it is easier for a family member to make these decisions knowing they are honoring your wishes rather than trying to guess what you would have wanted. Furthermore, failing to have this document can result in disputes among family members, requiring court intervention.
Who you name to make medical decisions may not be the person you name as Executor in your Will, but that’s okay. A will attorney can walk you through the qualities you should look for in the individuals you wish to serve in these roles so you can select the most suitable friend or family member.
How to Contact a Will Attorney in San Diego
Working with a Will attorney can help you navigate through this process as stress-free as possible. They can provide as much or as little assistance as you’d like while ensuring that your Will can hold up in court.
To find the best Will attorney, it’s encouraged to conduct research, read online reviews from reputable sources, ask for referrals among friends and colleagues, and interview multiple law firms. You want to make sure that the attorney you choose fits your needs. Do you have questions about Wills or are looking for legal advice? Call Kam Law Firm today.
If you don’t have an estate plan that addresses asset transfer, business and financial decisions, and health care directions, it’s important to meet with a Will attorney in San Diego. This can help you draft a comprehensive plan specific to your unique situation while guaranteeing that your last wishes are properly carried out. Contact a Will attorney in San Diego now.