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The importance of writing a will

If you live in California and are creating an estate plan, you probably need to write a will. This may be the case even if you are largely using a trust, beneficiary designations or other tools to pass assets since you can use a will to name a guardian for your minor children.

What a will does

The main function of a will is to designate who is going to receive your assets. You can also use the will to place assets in a trust. You may want to work with a professional to prepare the will to help reduce the likelihood of errors or misunderstandings about your intentions. Your first step in writing the will should be to make a list of all your assets. Then you can start to think about who you want to leave them to. You may want to talk to family members about your estate plan so that they are not surprised by your choices

The executor’s role

An important part of the will is naming an executor who is responsible for administering the estate. You should talk to the person you are choosing to be executor to make sure they are willing to take on the tasks, which include filing the will with the court so that it can go through probate, paying creditors from the estate, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. The executor should also know where the will is located.

Why writing a will is important

People often put off estate planning because they do not want to think about the issues involved or because it is time consuming. However, having a will helps ensure that your wishes are carried out. If you do not have an estate plan, the state determines how your assets are distributed.