Helping You Find the Best Path Forward
Leading You Toward the Ideal Estate Plan with Empathy & Experience
Establishing a last will and testament, living will, and trust for your estate can be daunting. Many people find considering end-of-life procedures challenging, and it can be difficult to know where to start if you want to preserve your assets for those who matter most.
At Divorced by Design, our empathetic Bakersfield will and trust lawyers are here to help you find the best path forward for your estate, working with you to draft a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs and protects your interests.
The Difference Between a Living Will & Last Will & Testament
Unbeknownst to many, there is a difference between a living will and last will and testament, as we briefly cover on our estate planning page.
A living will determines what happens if you become incapacitated. You can utilize a living will to establish:
- Healthcare power of attorney. Healthcare power of attorney dictates what kinds of resources are allocated to you if you become incapacitated, as well as who is responsible for your care in such an event.
- Financial power of attorney. Financial power of attorney defines who looks after your estate and finances if you become incapacitated.
Powers of attorney can also come into play if you lack the competency to make decisions for yourself.
Alternatively, a last will and testament lays out your end-of-life wishes and determines how you want to distribute your estate among beneficiaries when you pass away.
What Are the Requirements for Making a Will in California?
To make a will in California, you must:
- Be 18 years old or older;
- Of sound mind (meaning you understand what it means to make a will, what property you own that's applicable to a will, who your beneficiaries and relatives are, and do not possess a mental health disorder that prevents you from acting in your own best interests);
- Make your will on actual paper;
- Sign your will in front of two witnesses;
- Have your witnesses sign your will at the same time as each other, and you sign your will.
You do not need to notarize a will to make it legally enforceable in California, but doing so may help your personal representative (the individual you appoint to represent you during probate) prove the will's validity.
Trusts can also be used to award property to beneficiaries if you pass away or become incapacitated. The most popular kind of trust in estate plans is a living revocable trust, which can be changed throughout your life and used to designate what property you want to distribute to beneficiaries.
Importantly, you can use a separate or joint trust - many married couples form a joint trust.
However, trusts differ from last wills and testaments in the sense that you don't need to go through probate with a trust. As a result, trusts can be used to distribute property more effectively than a last will and testament in many instances.
To form a living trust, you must:
- Decide whether to make a shared or individual trust;
- Decide what property to include in your trust;
- Name a successor trustee who will oversee your trust once you pass away;
- Draft a trust utilizing the help of an attorney to ensure it is legally enforceable;
- Sign the trust in front of a notary public to make it binding;
- Change the titles of property included in the trust to ensure they can be passed onto the appropriate beneficiaries when the time comes.
Our Bakersfield trust and will attorneys can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan, drafting a detailed will and trust that enables you to distribute property among your beneficiaries as you see fit.
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“Mr. Rice went above and beyond for my parents. He answered all of our questions and made us feel very comfortable and at ease! Would recommend him 100x.”- Chelsey Crump
He’s a man of his word and he takes the worry out of this process
“I highly recommend Garrett Rice if you need a divorce attorney. Divorce can be chaotic and stressful but not with him. He’s a man of his word and he takes the worry out of this process. his office is very responsive and they are with you every step of the way! Garrett goes above and beyond!!!”- Whitney Rainwater
Garret represented my case with the utmost professionalism and care
“Garret represented my case with the utmost professionalism and care. I really felt that he provided a personal touch with his representation. I thoroughly believe that without his knowledge and litigation expertise, I would have had a different outcome in my case.”- Nick Lidgett
Whether you need your divorce handled with white gloves or a shark in the court Garrett is your man!
“Mr. Rice is an amazing lawyer not only was he efficient he listened to my needs and the needs of my children and executed them perfectly in court. He’s a no-nonsense lawyer with a proven track record. Whether you need your divorce handled with white gloves or a shark in the court Garrett is your man! I will definitely recommend him to any and everyone I know! I’ve had 2 other lawyers in Bakersfield and no one is even close to as good as him. He’s the smartest person in the room by far and doesn’t accept the games played in family court.”- Justin Debrum
Garrett is a very compassionate and understanding attorney
“Garrett is a very compassionate and understanding attorney. He is not in it for the money but only for the best interest of you and your family. He will not give you false hopes during the case. Garrett is always prepared for court, speaks very direct, dresses very nicely and is presentable for court, and is highly favored by the judges. Every time we went to court we received the results we wanted and he did all the talking. He defends you in and out of court when the other side wants to get out of line. I love that he gives his clients his direct number and you can contact him directly whenever. We are very seasoned with the attorneys here in Bakersfield, and 98% of them are money hungry, have no interest in your case (but they will fake it to get your money), and will continue your case for years which equals thousands of dollars you will never see again. So! If you are looking for an attorney who will get the job done and genuinely cares about you or are debating changing attorneys because they fall in that 98% category, GARRETT IS YOUR MAN! You’ll thank me later 😉”- Camille Elijah
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