What is a Will?

last will and testamentA will is a legal document which is effective at your death. This document will name your executor who is the person who will handle your assets after your death. It also permits you to name beneficiaries, set up support trusts for minor children or other dependents, and designate when and how your gifts will be given. If you have minor children you can also name a guardian for these children. If your assets are in excess of $150,000 and you do not have a trust, your estate will probably need a probate proceeding which can be very expensive.

Words used in legal documents can be confusing. It is important to understand the content of your will or living trust. You may want to review our list of common terms used in wills and trusts in preparation of planning your estate. You can also download a booklet on wills published by the California State Bar, click here.

A Pour Over will or Back Up Will is a will prepared in conjunction with a living trust. In the event you fail to include certain property in your trust before your death, this document will bring that property, valued up to $150,000, into your trust so that property can be distributed according to the provisions in your trust. If that property exceeds $150,000, those items and those assets alone will require a probate proceeding.
A will is a written document which sets forth your decision as to how to divide your property upon your death. If you die without a will, the state will distribute your property according to state law which may differ from your intentions. Having a will allows you to:

  • Leave specific gifts of items, assets or money to individuals, organizations or institutions, or distribute your estate in percentage shares.
  • Disinherit or forgive debts owed to you.
  • Name the personal guardian you desire to care for any minor children you may have.
  • Appoint an executor of your will. This person will manage your finances upon your death, pay off your debts, pay your taxes and distribute your assets to your designated heirs.

When is a Will Sufficient for Estate Planning?

  • If the total value of your assets at the date of your death is less than $150,000, excluding any asset which has a beneficiary provision and any asset which is in joint tenancy (or other multiple tenancy).
  • If the value of your real property at the date of your death is less than $50,000.

Get help with your California estate planning today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your will documents instead of an expensive attorney!

Description of Will Documents (Notary fees additional)Price
Will (individual)$200
Codicil to Will$125
Will package (individual) includes Will, Healthcare Directive and Financial Power of Attorney$250
Will package (couple) includes 2 Wills, 2 Healthcare Directives and 2 Financial Powers of Attorney$399
Other ServicesCall for Quote
Description of Trust Documents (Notary fees additional)Price
Trust or Restatement of Trust (Individual) Trust or Trust Restatement only (you must have an existing trust)$275
Trust or Restatement of Trust (Couple) Trust or Trust Restatement only (you must have an existing trust)$375
Trust or Restatement of Trust Package (Individual) Includes Trust, Pour-over Will, Certificate of Trust, Healthcare Directive, Financial Power of Attorney and estate folder$499
Trust or Restatement of Trust Package (Couple) Includes joint trust, 2 Pour-over Wills, Certificate of Trust, 2 Healthcare Directives, 2 Financial Powers of Attorney and estate folder$650
Special Needs Trust Designed for beneficiaries with physical or mental disabilities.$700
AB Trust Same documents as Trust above but as joint AB Trust$799
Trust Transfer Deed and Preliminary Change of Ownership (California property)$200 ($100 discount w/trust pkg)
Trust Transfer Deed (Out-of-State property)$275 ($150 discount w/trust pkg)
Trust Transfer Deed (Timeshare)$275 ($150 discount w/trust pkg)
Description of Individual Documents (Notary fees additional)Price
Healthcare Directive$125
Financial Power of Attorney$125
Codicil to Will$125
Trust Amendment$200 and up
Trust Transfer Deed and Preliminary Change of Ownership (California property)$200
Trust Transfer Deed (Out-of-State property)$275
Trust Transfer Deed (Timeshare)$275
Other ServicesCall for Quote

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