P.O.Box 225081, San Francisco, CA 94122

call us415-534-1200

San Francisco Estate Planning Lawyer

Richmond District will and trust attorney

Attorney Helping Clients Create Wills in the Bay Area

No matter how old you are, or whether you have many assets or very few, creating a will is important to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death, especially if you have a family and want to be able to provide for their needs when you are no longer around. Though it may be uncomfortable to think about your will, the process of making one does not have to be difficult, and the benefits are clear.

Attorney Martin Alperen has been practicing law since 1985, and he can guide you through the process of writing a will that holds up in court and addresses all important details. He can also help with establishing trusts and a range of other estate planning services, and he is committed to meeting with you personally at a convenient and safe location for you.

Important Items in Your California Will

The purpose of your last will and testament is to clarify your wishes regarding the handling of several important matters after your death, primarily including:

  • Asset distribution (What happens to my things when I die?): Your will should spell out your wishes for the distribution of any property and assets that have not been placed in a trust or that do not already have named beneficiaries. This may include savings and other financial accounts, as well as physical properties like your home and vehicles, and properties that may have sentimental value like jewelry, art, and furniture. Your chosen beneficiaries may include your spouse or partner, children, other relatives, and any charities or organizations. Your will also may include provisions for the handling of any debts remaining after your death.
  • Guardianship of children (Who takes care of my kids?): If you have minor children, you should include a statement in your will as to who will assume responsibility for their legal guardianship in the event of your death. Your chosen guardian may be a family member or trusted friend, and it should be someone who is willing and able to provide for your children's needs.
  • Choice of your estate executor (Who makes sure my will is followed?): In your will, you should also name the person you choose to carry out the terms. The executor will be your representative during the probate process, making sure that your chosen heirs and beneficiaries receive the assets allocated to them, and handling any legal issues that arise.

Creating a Will in San Francisco

In California, anyone over the age of 18 and of sound mind can establish a will. Your will must be created in writing and signed by you as the testator, or someone on your behalf under your direction. In order to be enforceable, your will must also be signed by at least two competent witnesses who are not included as heirs or beneficiaries.

After creating a will, you are permitted to update it at any time, and it is a good idea to do so whenever your financial or family situation changes significantly. To ensure that your updates are legally valid, you should follow the same process of signing and obtaining signatures from witnesses.

What Happens If You Do Not Have a Will?

Without a valid will at the time of your death, your assets will be distributed in probate court according to California's laws of intestate succession. This means that priority will go to your spouse or domestic partner, followed by your children, and then parents, grandchildren, and more distant relatives, but you will not be able to determine the specific amounts and properties that each person inherits. If you have no surviving relatives, your assets will go to the State of California. If you want to avoid losing control of your assets in this way, you should create a will as soon as possible if you have not already done so.

Contact a Berkeley Estate Planning Attorney

Creating a will is an important step in the estate planning process, and our estate planning attorney can help you complete it with minimal stress and uncertainty. Contact us today at 415-534-1200 to get started with a free consultation. We serve clients throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area, including the East Bay, North Bay, and the Peninsula.

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