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Estate planning, elder law and probate are some of the most confusing and difficult to grasp areas of the law that many people will ever deal with. Involving both legal and personal aspects, writing or executing a will requires the input of a trusted and experienced estate or probate attorney. Because of the confusion around estate planning and probate, myths abound about how a will gets initially prepared and handled by executors or in probate court after someone passes away. Here we look at answers to 5 common myths about estate planning to answer some commonly asked questions regarding how to plan your estate or how to handle an estate after someone dies.

If There Is No Will, All Assets Go To The State

There is a common misconception that if you pass away without a will, the State gets all your assets. This is not only untrue; it can lead to unhelpful inaction on the part of inheritors in the case where a family member passes away without a will. In California, if someone passes away without a will, the laws of intestacy will control who will receive the decedent’s assets. In most cases, surviving spouses and children will be the recipients of assets. For greater control on the terms of your will and estate assets, draft a will with an estate planning lawyer. To better understand the rules of intestacy and how to prepare your will to assure your assets are provided to whom you want, it is important that you speak to an estate planning or elder law attorney.

If There Is A Will, We Don’t Have To Worry About Probate Court

A will provides valuable information on somebody’s wishes for their assets, but unfortunately probate court is often still required to carry out those wishes or to handle any will contests or will disputes that may arise. While it would be nice to avoid the sometimes lengthy and costly process of probate, unfortunately it is not always possible.

I Can Write My Spouse Out Of My Will

Once again, a will conveys your wishes as to how you want your assets distributed upon your passing. Whether or not you can disinherit a spouse from your will depends on your state laws, and often you can’t disinherit your legally married spouse from your will unless they have agreed to this arrangement in other documentation. In California, it is possible to disinherit your spouse, but this must be done in a properly drafted will with an estate attorney.

Probate Court Will Cost More Than The Assets Are Worth

While probate court does have the reputation for being an extremely lengthy and drawn out process which often involves a lot of expense for lawyers and court costs, in most cases, the costs will represent significantly less than the value of the assets. Choosing the right probate lawyer to work with can help to manage costs and produce a better outcome for inheritors.

Estate Plans Are Only For The Wealthy Or For Older People

The point of estate planning is that you never know when your time will come, and an estate plan helps to offer your successors some guidance as to what to do with your assets. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy, but for everyone, as we all have to consider how our finances will be taken care of, and how decisions about our health care will be made, so that children and other heirs are taken care of when that time eventually comes. Having an estate plan in place helps to protect you and your family and loved ones in the uncertainty of life.

Estate planning and executing a will can be tricky, but clearing up some common myths about this process makes it clearer and easier to navigate. Working with a trustworthy estate attorney can help you understand your rights and how to compose the right estate plan for your needs, so you can rest assured that your future is planned for.

Contact Lewman Law, APC

Do you need some more information about your probate or estate planning? Contact the professionals at John Lewman Law, APC in Livermore at (925) 447-1250.