A will helps to protect your loved ones and ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes when you die. If you die without a will (or some other estate planning tool) laying out your wishes, California law determines how your property will be distributed when you pass.
A will does not have to be part of a trust – it can stand alone and be the only document stating your wishes for the disposition of your assets. When a will is used, the entire estate must go through probate, and the disposition of your assets is overseen by the court. However, the benefit of having a will is that you are able to name your beneficiaries, the property and/or percentage of your estate each beneficiary receives, your executor, and guardians for any minor children.