Estate Planning – Wills, & Trusts

Gain Peace of Mind

Do you know what will happen to your minor children, assets, and holdings when you’re gone?

Estate planning is an essential part of life to ensure your assets end up in the right hands when you are gone. A will is one powerful estate planning tool people use to plan for their loved ones’ futures.

A Newport Beach will lawyer has the knowledge and expertise in estate planning law to help you create a will that includes your needs, goals, and wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after you pass.

  • Ensure your minor children will never be placed in the care of strangers during a sudden emergency or serious illness
  • Avoid a long and expensive court process (known as probate) that would cost your loved ones’ tens of thousands of dollars
  • Protect your family members’ inheritances from creditors, predators, future marriages, and lawsuits
  • Make your medical wishes known and ensure they are followed
  • Leave behind far more than just money

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document explicitly stating who will inherit your personal property after death. Those who you designate to inherit your property are called “beneficiaries.” A will includes the designation of one or more beneficiaries and often an executor, a person you designate to manage the distribution of your personal property to your beneficiaries.

Creating a will provides those left behind with a clear view of your wishes and your intent, making it less likely that your property will end up in the wrong hands and that people you trust will care for your minor children.

What is a Living Will?

A living will—legally referred to as a “health care directive” or “advance directive”—provides family members and physicians instructions for your end-of-life medical care.

An experienced estate planning attorney can also help you create a living will. Still, it is a different document than a Last Will and Testament, which deals with the distribution of your personal property.

What Can Be Included in a Will?

Your will can include property and assets that are part of your estate.

Most wills include instructions about the distribution of one or more types of the following property:

  • Real property—or real estate—which includes homes, land, and other buildings
  • Cash holdings, including money in checking, savings, and money market accounts
  • Intangible property, including stocks, bonds, business ownership, patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property
  • Valuable property, such as cars, artwork, family heirlooms, furniture, collectibles, and jewelry

If you have children under 18, you can also designate one or more guardians to take care of them until they are adults in the event of your death. You can also appoint guardians to manage your minor children’s assets.

The Role Your Will Plays in Your Estate Plan

Broadly, having a will allows for easier distribution of your assets and property to your beneficiaries and provides care for minor children. Specifically, creating a will as part of your estate plan gives you certain assurances and protections.

Ensures Your Wishes in Property Distribution

Creating a will prevents your property from being distributed in a way you do not want after passing on. This allows you to help those you want to help and avoid leaving valuable assets to those you believe do not need or deserve any of your property or assets.

Ensures Proper Guardianship for Minors

Listing your wishes regarding who will care for your dependents prevents minor children from being forced to live with someone you would not have chosen as a guardian.

Expedites the Probate Process

While a will alone doesn’t necessarily allow your estate to avoid probate, it does ensure that your assets do not get tied up in a lengthy probate court process. Without a will, your wishes might not be known after your death, leading to a lengthy court battle between your loved ones and creating excessive financial and emotional stress for those you leave behind.

An experienced probate attorney in Newport Beach, CA, is well-versed in California probate law and can guide you through what the process might look like for your loved ones when you’re gone.

Saves Your Loved Ones from Unnecessary Financial Burdens

Shortening any probate court requirements with a will prevents your estate and surviving family members from accumulating massive legal fees and court costs. Without a will, family members might need to go to court to determine their rights to inheritance. In some cases, court battles can drag on for months or years.

How a Newport Beach Will Attorney Can Help

Creating a will protects your property and assets and ensures they go to the beneficiaries of your choice. Although an attorney is not necessary, it’s best to consult with an estate planning lawyer.

Will lawyers and probate lawyers in Newport Beach, CA, have specialized knowledge about California law and how it applies to estate planning. They can reduce your stress, help you plan how to distribute your property best, and prevent your beneficiaries from having grounds to contest your will by creating a solid document without loopholes.

Finding the Best Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney for You

As you search for a will lawyer in Newport Beach, CA, to help you create your will, you want to find the best attorney possible. The best Orange County probate lawyer for you understands your needs. They can guide you on the best path for asset protection planning and the distribution of your property according to your wishes.

Additionally, they can let you know which property you should include in your will and which property you should leave in a trust or another estate planning vehicle. Contact Meier Law Firm today to schedule a planning session. We can discuss your will and what estate planning tools are best for you.

Our Trust and Probate Administration Process

  • Book a Planning Session

First, you’ll attend a planning session with us to discuss your estate’s needs and your options.

  • Create a Customized Plan

We’ll identify what legal strategies will work best for your family to create a customized plan.

  • Gain Peace of Mind

You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your family and assets are protected from unforeseeable circumstances.

Feel Confident and Safe Knowing Your Family is Taken Care of —No Matter What.

Your loved ones’ futures are of the utmost importance. Knowing that you’ve done everything you can to ensure they’re cared for when you’re no longer able to will give you much-needed peace of mind.

Create an estate plan with an experienced Newport Beach estate planning lawyer at Meier Law Firm today.


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FAQ - Newport Beach Wills

How much does a will cost in California?

Creating a very basic will in California doesn’t cost a fortune. Some estimates for wills are as low as $150 and as much as $1,000 or more. When you have a significant number of assets or an estate that’s complicated, the costs can increase since an estate planning lawyer will need to take steps to ensure the legality of your will and your estate plan.

What makes a will invalid in California?

California probate law outlines specific requirements for wills to be valid, including:

  • The will must be in written form (hand-written or typed)
  • The will must be signed and dated by the person who created it—or the “testator”
  • Two witnesses must sign the will at the same time as the testator
  • The witnesses must also sign an affidavit stating that the testator had the proper mental capacity when they signed the will
  • Beneficiaries must be listed in the will
  • Language in the will needs to be precise and not vague

If any of these requirements aren’t met on your will document, it may be ruled invalid in probate court.

Does a spouse automatically inherit everything in California?

In many California probate cases, if the deceased does not have a will when they die, their spouse will inherit all or at least half of the couple’s community property. When the deceased leaves behind other people—like multiple children—their spouse will often inherit only one-third of the estate.

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