What is a Last Will and Testament


A California Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their childrenís inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representativeóor co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)óto manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedentís debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedentís property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usuallyóin most statesómeans it must be properly witnessed, as wellónot just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedentís debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedentís heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedentís property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a California Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they donít, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  California free information on last will and testament forms.

Requirements for a Valid Will in California

In California, there are particular laws and regulations concerning the filing of a Last Will legal paperwork. The document is of utmost necessity in terms of its applicability in real-estate planning matters. The core idea of the paper is the clarification of the actions that should be taken with your private property after your death, as well as designating the prospective heirs of your assets. You can allocate a part of the property or the entire one to be transferred to the specially chosen people after you pass away.

Essential Requirements for the Last Will in California

  • In California, a person who wishes to create the California Living Will must provide the document in their own writing.

  • Also, the testator must put their signature on the document; and the presence of two witnesses, sane persons of age, is obligatory for the will to become fully valid. The witnesses should not have any interest in the process of the estateís inheritance to provide full legitimacy and minimize risks.

  • You should ensure the will you file is original and meets all the requirements of state laws, unless you want some issues concerning the validity of the paper to occur. On the other hand, it is highly recommended that one should make at least two copies of the document and maintain them in a safe place to provide utmost security.

  • As to notarization, the Last Will paper completion does not demand a notary publicís involvement, according to state laws. A California Last Will and Testament paper is considered valid once the requirements are met, and no evidence proving the willís mistakes has been provided.

  • In order to clarify or add information to a valid will, the new one has to be created. Small corrections, however, can take place once a codicil is applied.

  • To end the effect of the document, the paper can be destroyed. Also, the creation of a new document might be required.

Overall, if the form is filled properly, its admission is available in probate.

As to the non-typical kinds of the Last Will, the holographic (informal in the form and used in emergencies) and nuncupative (based on a statement of the creator, made verbally) wills are considered lawful in California, once properly filled with relevant information, heeding the requirements of state law.

You should consult an experienced person to ensure you do everything properly or use an automated form-builder to simplify the process.



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