Requirements for a Valid Last Will and Testament in California
What is a last will and testament?If you have your loved ones' best interests at heart, you will take the necessary legal steps to ensure that your property goes to them after your demise. You may not need it today and you might have to amend it several times or create other wills but a free California last will and testament will ensure that no one ignores your wishes. It aptly communicates your final wishes with regards to your dependents and possession. Also referred to the primary building block of estate planning, a free last will and testament in California can be used as evidence in court if a dispute arises. Therefore, you should have all the details of the will right from the beginning. An essential step to getting you started involves getting a last will and testament form in California. Among other things, you can use a will to outline what is to happen to your possessions and how to take care of your children, accounts, and interests.
- Before we jump into the prerequisites of a will, here are some of the ways you can use the will:
- Asset distribution
- Appointment of a guardian to care for minor kids when or if the other parent is unavailable. You wouldn't want your kids to suffer or mismanage the inherited property, would you?
- Appointment of an executor: the person responsible for fulfilling your wishes
- Appointment of a caregiver for pets
- Creation of trusts
The Requirements of a last will and testament
- In the legal setting, the person creating the will is the testator or the decedent.
- The person you appoint to make decisions and ensure execution of the provisions of the will is the executor
- Persons who will benefit or inherit your estate are heirs or beneficiaries.
- The testator should be 18 years or older
- The testator should be capable of making reasonable decisions, and they should create the will out of their own volition.
- For the validity of a free California last will and testament, it should have the signatures of the testator, the person signing on behalf of and under the directives of the testator, and a conservator appointed by the court. It is also necessary to have a minimum of two adult witnesses sign the will.
- It should be in writing since oral wills are unacceptable.
- The format of the will should be standardized as per the provisions of code section Prob. §6100, et seq. And, any declarations should have details similar to those in the form
- This should enlist all beneficiaries of the testator's estate. The beneficiaries of the estate/ property include, but not limited to societies, individuals, corporations, lodges, municipal corporations, and countries, among others.
Are there exceptions to property distribution?Yes. You may not have the authority to distribute all the property with your name on them although you could gift assets with your name in the title.
- Properties you cannot distribute include:
- Joint tenancy property or community property
- Proceeds from life insurance - it has the name of the beneficiary
- Your retirement plan as it already has a designated beneficiary
- Living trusts
- Transfer on death (pay on death) accounts because they have designated beneficiaries.