A will allows you to direct who will inherit your property upon your death, and can simplify the probate process. It is a fairly simple document, though in most cases it must be signed and witnessed with appropriate legal formalities. There is a "Statutory Will" in the State of California that is a "fill-in-the-blanks" document that may be appropriate for small estates. A Statutory Will may be a good solution or a dangerous over-simplification of your estate planning needs. We recommend you have an estate planning or Certified Elder Law Attorney review your situation to see if this informal method is good for you. Most people would benefit from having an attorney draft their will as part of an integrated estate plan.

If you don’t need a trust, the will is the document that determines where your property will go upon your death. If a trust is the cornerstone of your plan, the will is known as a "Pour-Over Will", in which case it will direct that any assets left out of the trust will be transferred, or "poured over" into the trust upon your death. An estate planning or elder law attorney can help you determine which is the better option for you.

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