Drafting a Will is one of the most basic things a person can do to ensure that his or her estate passes according to one’s wishes.
Typically, a Will designates beneficiaries of an individual’s assets, guardians for one’s minor children, and an executor who will be responsible to administer the Will.
In California, if a person dies without a Will, that person’s estate will pass to his or her next of kin – spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc. – according to a statutory scheme. Often, this statutory disposition is inconsistent with a person’s wishes, so it is important to consider drafting a Will or Living Trust to ensure one’s wishes are carried out.
While it is true that Wills can be handwritten, the legal requirements for a handwritten Will to be valid are fairly stringent. In nearly every case an attorney-drafted Will is a better option. Consulting with a qualified estate planning lawyer, and having him or her assist in the drafting of one’s Will, will help avoid possible unintended consequences that so often arise from self-drafted documents.