A will is a legal document containing the directions of a person (testator) concerning their property and assets in case of death, created in the manner prescribed by law.
As a precaution, it’s highly recommended to create a last will. Even when you don’t have a lot of assets, the last will could actually help your family situation and prove to be critical to those you love upon your passing.
In this article, we offer a free downloadable California last will and testament form and answers to certain common doubts you could have concerning this particular document.
Build Your Document
Answer a few simple questions to make your document in minutes
Save and Print
Save progress and finish on any device, download and print anytime
Sign and Use
Your valid, lawyer-approved document is ready
|Statutes||Division 6 – Wills and Intestate Succession|
|Signing requirement||Two witnesses||CHAPTER 2. Execution of Will. 6111|
|Age of testator||18 and older||CHAPTER 1. General Provisions. 6100|
|Age of witnesses||CHAPTER 2. Execution of Wills. 6112|
|Self-proving wills||Allowed||ARTICLE 2. Proof of Will. 8220|
|Handwritten wills||Recognized if meeting certain conditions||CHAPTER 2. Execution of Wills. 6111|
|Oral wills||Not recognized||CHAPTER 2. Execution of Wills. 6111|
|Holographic wills||Recognized if meeting certain conditions||CHAPTER 2. Execution of Will. 6111|
The principal difference between the two documents is that once you depart this life, the person you designate via power of attorney loses their official authority to handle any matters for you.
Among many power of attorney types, the two following ones are considered main:
An executor is a person you assign in your last will and testament to deal with your matters after you die. One person could be your last will’s executor and attorney-in-fact.
A will in California is valid without a notary certification. Neither will you need a notary public to make your last will self-proving. A self-proving will can make probate faster because the court can admit it without communicating with the witnesses involved.
If you need to make a holographic last will, you must write the whole thing by hand. However, such last wills are usually viewed as a short-term alternative. You’d like to replace this kind of a last will by making an attested one as early as you can by getting an attorney’s support or a fillable template. It isn’t encouraged to have a holographic last will as the final version because it could have ambiguous or inconsistent statements, resulting in a large stalling in the probate.
An attested last will is a typed document that is usually based on a fillable form available online or prepared with the assistance of a law firm. You would need to have two witnesses (18 years or more) sign the will in your presence for it to be considered valid. In some states, you’d have to notarize the document as well, but in California, it isn’t necessary.
To be able to create your last will and modify it (to be testamentary capable), you must match specific requirements relating to your legal and mental capabilities (sound mind) first.
In the majority of states, to prepare a last will and testament, you must be of sound mind and no less than 18 years of age. “Sound mind” signifies that you don’t have any kind of mental illnesses (dementia, senility, insanity, etc.) that doesn’t allow you to have an understanding of the aftermaths of your actions.
In line with California law, you don’t need to attach a self-proving affidavit to your last will and testament. However, it may not be a bad choice to include this document. In the course of probate, it’ll act as a substitute for the witness testimony in court and ease the process.
In California, there is such a thing as community or marital property. It implies that all of the properties and assets collected or increased while in the marriage ought to be evenly shared between the two spouses, and this makes it almost implausible to disinherit your marriage partner.
Just those possessions you control (your personal property) are subject to will disinheritance when it comes to your spouse.
The only way for you to disinherit your marriage partner will be to enter into a prenuptial contract with him or her prior to the marriage. Here, you can redefine the community property and change your partner’s share.
As for the others, it’s legal in California to disinherit members of the family in the will. That concerns your children and other relatives; simply include disinheritance provisions to your last will and testament.
No, the will can be modified only by the testator. There’s just one case when a third party is permitted to intervene. If you are physically unable to sign your last will and testament, a third party is permitted to do it in your stead but only with you present.
Yes, it’s possible.
A person who wrote the will is permitted to alter or cancel his or her last will at any time. The only case that might disallow you to do it is when such doing is forbidden under the contract you concluded.
It may also be a wise decision to update your last will in the following situations:
California law states that a will can be admitted in case it is lost or damaged. But, nothing but the original of the last will and testament can be accepted by the probate court.
California law offers a supposition that the absence of the will implies it was revoked. That puts the responsibility on the advocate of the last will and testament to present evidence of the stated last will.
For a holographic last will, you may need sworn witnesses and testimony. This makes the process even more complicated. Besides that, you will also have to prove the actual reason why the last will and its contents cannot be produced in ways that will also show it hasn’t been annulled.
Solely per your instruction and with you present can another person sign your last will and testament (See California Estate Code). It’s possible to give a special directive through a number of methods, which include speaking, a positive answer to a query, or body gestures.
You can have a notary sign the name of a testator that is physically unable to do it if the latter directs the notary public in the presence of a witness. It is worth mentioning that such witnesses aren’t allowed to have any interest (equitable or legal) in any assets being the issue matter or that might be influenced by this type of a document (the last will).
|Related documents||Instances when you could need to have one|
|Codicil||You would like to slightly change your last will without making a new document from scratch.|
|Self-proving affidavit||You want to save time and money for your witnesses.|
|Living will||You would like to make certain your end-of-life treatment is carried out in line with your wishes.|
|Living trust||You want to skip probate by placing your property in a trust.|