Older couple working on estate plan together

Who Needs a Will in California?

Many people are under the impression that only those who are old or very wealthy need a will. However, this isn’t the case. Although many people wait until they are older to establish a will or comprehensive estate plan, those who are younger may also benefit from having a will. Anyone who has any assets that they wish to pass on should consider establishing a will. 

Although we all imagine living to a ripe old age, unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen. It’s much better to have a will and not need one, then to need one and not have one. 

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that includes a description of how you want your assets to be distributed and who you wish to care for your minor children after you pass away. If you fail to establish a will and pass away without one, your estate will go through probate courts, which can take a long time and ultimately distribute your assets in a manner that you don’t want. 

It’s also extremely important to have a will if you are unmarried but have a partner. If you pass away without a will, your partner will likely not receive any of your assets. This means that if you own a house and your partner’s name is not on the deed, if you pass away without a will, the house will pass to your children, parents, or siblings, leaving your partner in a compromised situation. 

You can also use your will to appoint a guardian for your children. If you fail to name a guardian and you pass away, your child may not end up with the individual(s) you would trust to properly care for him or her. A custody hearing will be held and the custody of your child will be assigned to close biological or legal relatives. 

A will can bring you peace of mind that your children will be properly cared for and your assets will be distributed as you desire. 

Who Needs a Will?

As a general rule, every adult should have a will, but wills are especially important (even for young people) if any of the following apply:

  • You are married
  • You are unmarried but are in a long-term relationship
  • You have children
  • You have significant assets
  • You are chronically ill
  • You work in a dangerous industry (e.g., construction)

What Goes in a Will?

Wills are usually updated over time as things in your life change. You may accumulate more assets, have children, go through a divorce, etc. The good news is that as things change you can revise what you have included. 

You can include which people or organizations should receive your property, who should be appointed guardian of your minor children, and who should be the one to carry out the wishes in your will (the executor). Additionally, you may want to include life insurance policy details and retirement accounts as well as anything else that can make it easier for your loved ones after you’re gone. 

Biddle Law Can Help 

Wills are very important documents that are intended to ensure that someone’s wishes are carried out after they pass away. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that you not only have a will, but that it’s written properly and without confusion. 

This is why it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning attorney who has a deep understanding of wills and estate plans. 

At Biddle Law, we are here to answer all of your questions and walk you through the entire process. We care about you and your loved ones and want to help in any way we can. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!