Orange Will Lawyer
Truthfully, people who have no children, debts, or assets probably do not need wills. But for everyone else, a will is essential. For people who die intestate (without wills), the probate process is cumbersome and uncertain, to say the least. A will changes everything. The expedited approval process almost eliminates the emotional and financial costs usually associated with such matters. Additionally, the testator (person who makes a will) has almost complete control over its contents.
The meticulous Orange will lawyers at The Probate Guy pay close attention to the details in these situations. These details are what makes the difference between a boilerplate will and one that is tailored to your needs. So, making a will is your opportunity to do more than make something that truly lasts. It also gives you a chance to take care of your loved ones even when that’s physically impossible.
Making a Will
Many people are tempted to use boilerplate wills they find on the internet because, in most cases, all wills look alike, at least at first blush. They all have the same principle components, such as:
- Preamble: This is the “I, John Smith, being of sound mind and body” language. These are more than just empty platitudes. Without the preamble and its assertions, the will’s legitimacy could be an issue.
- Revocation: A new will revokes all prior wills. Nevertheless, codicils which suddenly appear, especially after the testator’s death, cause a considerable amount of probate litigation. So, our Orange will lawyers usually recommend that people physically destroy all previous wills and codicils. That includes originals and copies, if possible.
- Bequests: There are several types of bequests. Much of will preparation goes into making these bequests. After specific bequests (I leave my house to David) and general bequests (I leave money to Frank), the residuary request (I leave the rest of my estate to my children per stirpes) covers everything else.
“Per stirpes” is a Legalese phrase which basically means both “in line” and “share and share alike.” All pure biological children get equal estate shares. Step-children, or any other step-relatives, get nothing, unless there is a specific or general bequest in their name.
Probating a Will
“Probate” simply means the legal process of transforming a will into a legal document. The vast majority of probate proceedings are uncontested and relatively straightforward.
After the executor files an application, the judge appoints the named executor to that position. Most wills include no-bond provisions. If such a provision is absent, the judge could require the executor to post a very large surety bond.
Usually, debts must be paid first. Creditors usually have thirty days to file claims against the estate. An attorney can usually negotiate with creditors and convince them to either lower or withdraw their claims. These debts include estate taxes. Then, the executor distributes assets in accordance with the will, assuming these assets weren’t sold to pay debts.
Finally, the executor files a report with the court detailing all these transactions. From start to finish, the probate process usually takes a few months, unless the estate is large and complex.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Orange County Lawyer
Wills and probate are normally rather straightforward. For a free consultation with an experienced Orange probate lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Robert L. Cohen. Convenient payment plans are available.