Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln answers the question “What is a Will?”
According to Antelope Valley estate planning lawyer Kevin Von Tungeln, a will is a traditional legal document that names individuals or organizations that will receive a person's assets after their death; nominates an executor who will be appointed and who will be supervised by the probate court to manage their estate; and nominates guardians for their minor children.
“For the most part,” explains Von Tungeln, “most assets in your name are governed by your will. There are some exceptions, however, of assets that pass directly to named beneficiaries. These exceptions include: life insurance policies, IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement plans and some annuities and certain co-owned assets, and securities accounts and bank accounts if they are set up as payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) accounts.”
Von Tungeln added that assets transferred to a revocable living trust would be distributed according to that trust, not your will.
“Although many people can and do use fill-in-the-blank forms to create their wills, I would advise against it,” said Von Tungeln. “Because laws in the state of California and federal laws are frequently changing, it takes a California estate planning specialist to make sure that your loved ones will be fully taken care of in the way you would want, after your death.”