What is a Will?

A ‘will’ is a written document whereby a person disposes of his or her property (e.g., real, personal, intangible property) after they die. If they don’t determine what will happen to the estate once they are dead, either the remaining family members will fight over it or the government will make the determination for them.  It’s always better for you to decide what happens to your property.

Will and trust law is governed by the individual states, e.g., California has its own rules, Maine has its rules, and New York has it rules.  The rules are different, therefore one-size-does-NOT-fit-all.

The definition of a “will” includes amendments called codicils and any other related document, which may appoint an executor (or executrix) or revokes or revises a will. In California, a “formal” will must be signed by the testator (person whom the will belongs to) and at least two witnesses. Sometimes a testator can write up their own will in their own handwriting. This is called a holographic will and does not need to be signed by witnesses, only the testator.

PourOver Will.  This is a will that transfers some or a portion of the testator’s property to a revocable trust.  A revocable trust can be revoked at any time while the testator is still alive.  A pourover will is designed to make it easier to understand who gets the assets that did not go into a trust, or those assets that accidentally were not transferred to the family trust.

Third, copyright registration is important because the Certificate of Registration will serve as evidence that you own the copyrighted work in question. It also provides you with the legal authority to send a “cease and desist” letter to the person that infringed your work.  This usually encourages people to STOP using your work without permission, or purchase a license from you. Sometimes the threat of a lawsuit goes a long way. Just be careful not to threaten something you are not prepared to follow-through with.

What is a Trust?

A ‘trust is an estate vehicle which allows the trustor or settlor to distribute his or her assets and avoid probate.  A trust creates a fiduciary relationship with respect to the trust property.

In order for a trust to exist, there must be an intent to create a trust, a valid trust purpose, something of value which is called the trust res, a trustee (someone to manage the trust), and at least one beneficiary (someone who benefits from the trust).  A trust can be revocable (something revoked before the death of the trustor) or irrevocable (an instrument that cannot be revoked during the trustor’s lifetime.)

Contact Francine today for a no obligation consultation concerning your need for a Will or Trust.

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