There are several different types of wills. The main type is called a last will and testament, which is a document that expresses a person’s wishes for things that should be carried out when they die. With a will you can nominate a guardian for your minor children, gift specific items of personal property, and name an executor to administer your estate when you are gone. In California, a last will and testament will not make your assets avoid the jurisdiction of the probate court. Wills get probated, but properly formed trusts do not.

Living wills are legal documents used to dictate a person’s wishes relating medical decisions, to be executed in the event an individual is incapable of making such decisions. Today, we refer to this document as a California Advance Healthcare Directive. You can nominate a medical power of attorney and a conservator of your person. In many cases people choose the same individual to act as medical power of attorney and conservator. You can also detail instructions relating to administration of pain meds, life support, organ donation, burial and cremation.

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