Experienced California Estate Planning Attorney Drafts and Updates Wills
Lawyer helps clients in the Los Angeles area to plan for their property and finances
At C. J. Smith Law, I offer a full range of services relating to wills, including drafting, review, amendment, revocation and execution. My experience enables me to provide reliable and practical estate planning advice to people from all walks of life. I understand that it can feel overwhelming to make plans for the property and assets you have accumulated over a lifetime, and it can be difficult to think about how your children should be cared for if the unthinkable happens. My goal is to help people in the Los Angeles area and throughout California to create wills in which they can feel confident and secure. I handle estates of all sizes and levels of complexity, creating clear and enforceable instructions that accurately convey my clients’ intentions.
Knowledgeable California counselor creates comprehensive legacy instructions
Simple mistakes can render wills invalid in whole or in part. Essential elements of a valid will include:
- Intent — The testator, the person who creates the will, must intend that the document be a last will and testament at the time it is made. The testator must be of sound mind and comprehension, and must create the will voluntarily, without coercion or undue influence.
- Proper execution — A traditional will is written, signed by the testator and often affirmed by a witness.
- Clear language — A statement within a will that is confusing or open to various interpretations can invalidate all or part of the will.
An error in the drafting of your will can cause confusion in the court and conflict among your heirs. To make sure that your wishes can be carried out, it is wise to hire a respected lawyer. Through C. J. Smith Law, I offer pertinent and personal legal advice for drafting valid wills.
Thorough attorney makes plans to protect your loved ones
Your last will and testament provides the opportunity to distribute your property and finances, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is the primary means by which you can leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your estate is distributed, making decisions that might not reflect your desires. I can draft clear, legally sound wills that include considerations for:
- Property — Real estate is typically the most valuable property a person or couple owns. Wills can include instructions for all kinds of property, from homes, automobiles and art to sentimental objects.
- Financial assets — A wide array of financial assets can be accounted for in a will. You can choose how the wealth you hold in bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement plans and other sources of value should be distributed among your beneficiaries.
- Child guardianship — Your will allows you to make contingency plans for the care of your minor children. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent, but couples should also consider whom they want to raise their children if both parents pass away. You can also make arrangements in your will for the care of your pets.
- Executor responsibilities — Your will can include instructions for who should be in charge of overseeing the distribution of your property and seeing to it that your wishes are carried out.
As your life unfolds, your circumstances and concerns may shift. To remain current, you should review and update your will intermittently. I can advise you on your will in light of your current finances, marital status and family situation. C. J. Smith Law can also add valid supplements (known as codicils) that address changes in your state of affairs and outlook.
Contact a dedicated California estate planning lawyer for help with a will
At C. J. Smith Law, I draft effective wills for clients in California. Call me at 559-320-7028 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation at my Los Angeles office.