You do not need a lawyer to prepare a Will. You can prepare an entirely handwritten Holographic Will .A business letterhead, hotel stationary or date stamp would invalidate the Will. It must be dated, signed and show a TESTAMENTARY INTENT by stating "This is My Last Will and Testament, dated May 7, 2014 in Palm Desert California."

You should hire a lawyer to prepare a Will as it is not expensive and the consequences of failing to prepare it correctly are very serious. If you wanted to leave a $1,000,000 bequest to your son and a Million dollar diamond or home to your daughter, then what happens if they are sold before you die? Unfortunately the daughter gets nothing because it is no longer in was a specific bequest. The son however still gets his $1,000,000 because it was a general bequest.

You may need estate planning that goes beyond a will. This could involve placing a home in a trust or buying life insurance to pay the estate taxes. When I had my legal radio show I opened each show saying "People Don't Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan".

Many famous people did not plan ahead. U.S. Senator Robert Kerr (on the US Senate Finance Committee) left an estate valued at $20,000,000. The IRS immediately demanded $9,000,000 from his astonished heirs. At the time that meant the family would have to sell stocks and real estate at a substantial loss...just to pay the sudden taxes.

After liquidation they could but could only raise $3,000,000 and had to borrow the other $6,000,000. Thus most of the estate went to interest payments and the IRS and not to the beloved family and very frustrated heirs. They went into debt.

Many famous people died without Estate Planning and their estates were all a mess. Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, Sonny Bono, Flo Jo, Walt Disney, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller are a few who did not plan ahead.

When I lecture I ask "Have you completed an estate plan?" I get answers as follows:

Widow: "I don't really have an estate; I only have money in a checking account, some personal jewelry and my dog Bella."

Domestic Partner: "I don't really have an estate. Kevin and I have a house in joint tenancy so, when I die, it will bypass Probate and pass directly to Bill... isn't that right?."

Grandparent: "I made a Will about 10 years ago before having grandkids. I'm sure it still covers everything."

The good news is everyone has an ESTATE!!! The bad news is, UNLESS YOU TAKE THE TIME to ensure that both you and what you have is safely monitored; your community estate could be a mess.

What if you should become INCAPACITATED? Do you have an Advanced Health Care Directive? Is it on file at your hospital? Last year I took my mother in law to Eisenhower and was surprised when they asked her if she had her Health Care Directive on File with the hospital and not just in my office. Eisenhower now has a health care directive on file for our entire family....even our 28 year old daughter.

Every reader should put this Coachella Valley Weekly down and do the A health care directive is VERY INEXPENSIVE in our office because we do not want to see our neighbors in the CV get in trouble because they have not have planned ahead and then become terminally ill.......SO CALL TODAY at 760 837 7500 or email me at [email protected].

Plan ahead and remember, When you drink don't get behind the wheel and have an accident (whether it is your fault or not) or get arrested for a DUI:


Dale Gribow has been "Rated" TOP LAWYER by Palm Springs Life Magazine from 2011-2019 and has a Superb AVVO Legal Rating by his fellow attorneys. Dale Gribow has been Man of the Year 7 times including the City of Palm Desert and the City of Hope and Dale Gribow Day has been declared 4 times.

Gribow has been a legal commentator, analyst, expert, newspaper columnist and radio talk show host. He currently writes for the CV Weekly and the Desert Sun. If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow Attorney at Law at his NEW number 760-837-7500.