Q: Do I need a will?
Every one asks this question at some time in their life.
The answer is "yes" because it makes taking care of your possessions easier for the loved
ones you leave behind. They will be grieving, and will appreciate your efforts to give
them direction and clarity.
Q: Does a will need to be notarized?
No. In order for a will to be valid in California, it must be signed by not less than two
witnesses who are in the same room with you when you sign it and acknowledge that they saw you sign it.
It is best to use specific language in the witness section, to avoid the witnesses having to come
to court to prove up the will later on.
Q: Can I hand-write my own will?
Yes. A valid holographic will is one that identifies the document as your last testament,
is in your own handwriting (or printing), is signed by you and dated, and states what you want to
have happen to your property after your death. These are often contested in court, however.
Q:Do I need a Trust?
Maybe. A trust will help avoid probate. Probate can be lengthy, expensive and your estate
plan will become public record. If you want to avoid probate and you have property worth
over $100,000, then you should consider establishing a trust. If you have your property titled in a trust,
you can name yourself as the trustee, but name another person to take over as successor trustee after you.
You can instruct the successor trustee exactly how to run your trust, including instructions to take care
of you if you beome ill. Many people who own real property prefer to have a trust than a will alone.
Q:Do I need a Health Care Directive?
Yes. Your family, friends and physicians need to know how to care for you in case you are no longer
able to communicate your health care preferences.