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Consider people's personal desires when writing wills

When writing out wills in California, it is important to sit down with the people being mentioned in the will to find out what they really want. Remember, the will is about making sure that your assets are distributed as you would like them to be, but you are not going to be there to see that it is done, and conflicts can arise if people wanted something other than what you decided.

For example, take the case of an Ohio woman who had a California condo. Her brother had some hardships in his life, and he ended up living in that condo. When she passed away, she did want to help her brother out, so she decided to give him a full $50,000. She then tried to give the rest of the estate to charity.

The issue, though, is that her brother did not want $50,000. He wanted a place to live. He fought the will, trying to keep the condo, and even went so far as to tell the charity that they could take his money if he got it. The charity did not want the deal, however, so they turned him down.

The result was an extensive legal battle. In the end, the estate was significantly cut down to size by taxes and other fees. Much of this could have been avoided if the man had been given the condo to start with, and both sides would have come out ahead.

While learning about the legal steps to take when writing a will, be sure that you also know exactly how the assets should be divided.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Intended For Charity Depleted By Litigation And Income Tax" Peter J. Reilly, accessed Mar. 13, 2015

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