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A will is a legal document that communicates your intent to your heirs (family) and the court (probate judge) regarding how you want your assets distributed after your death. It includes details such as who your beneficiaries are and what property and money they will inherit, who will take care of your underage children, and what to do with your remains after your death.

A will can also act as a complimentary estate planning vehicle to a revocable living trust, known as a pour-over will. Smaller items like a car, furniture, or specific gifts can be handled by a pour-over will. The assets are added to your trust, i.e., poured-over into the trust. The law in California does not require the probate of these assets as long as their combined value is less than $100,000. Once in the trust, poured-over assets follow the provisions of the trust.

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