It isn’t uncommon for California residents to write their own wills. However, there are several mistakes that people tend to make when doing so without the help of an attorney. For instance, it may be possible for individuals to forget to include their family members as part of the document. While a person can give money or other assets to whoever he or she wants, close family members have the right to challenge a will.
Those who are planning on giving money to minors should avoid making a direct transfer. When this happens, a court appointed guardian must safeguard the money until the child turns 18. However, the estate has no control over the appointment, and the estate must pay for the services provided by the guardian.
It is important to make sure that the right person is named executor. It is also a good idea to have a backup executor named in case the original selection is unable or unwilling to perform his or her duties. While it is possible to name more than one executor, it may be difficult for all of them to agree on decisions related to carrying out a person’s last wishes. Ideally, an individual will pick the most trustworthy person to serve in this role.
Creating an estate plan may allow individuals to have greater control over who receives assets or how they are used after passing on. An attorney may be able to help an individual create wills, trusts or other documents as part of that plan. Those who already have plan documents may wish to have them reviewed by an attorney. This may reduce the odds that they are challenged or otherwise declared invalid in the future.