A will is a vital legal document that helps you ensure the fulfillment of your wishes after you pass away. Not having one may result in conflict like the ones surrounding Aretha Franklin’s death (though to claim that the existence of a will staves off all fighting is a misconception itself).
If you are among the number of individuals considering taking estate planning steps, you may find yourself confused and bogged down by a number of myths floating around about wills.
1. It is fine to list your minor offspring as beneficiaries
Underage children are legally unable to inherit. If you wish to leave them assets, you need to do so in a trust that cares for them until they reach adulthood. You may need to set one up for any progeny under 18.
2. Your spouse receives everything if you die without a will
If your plan is to avoid writing a will because you believe that your spouse automatically inherits all your money and property after your death and that is what you want, it may not work out the way you want. California has very specific intestate succession laws. Your spouse does not become the sole inheritor unless you have no living children, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews at the time of your death.
3. Your family cares for your children if you have no will when you die
Your family members may choose to step up and volunteer to take in your minor offspring, but this does not guarantee the children’s placement with them. The court decides if you do not specify a guardian in a will.
A proper will and estate plan aid you in making sure your assets go to who you want them to and your progeny receive the care they need.