When it comes to estate planning in the state of California, it is important to know that there is more than one type of will that you can create. Creating a will is an essential step in the estate planning process in California if you wish to ensure that all of your assets will be distributed according to your personal wishes.
If you chose to not leave a will, your assets will be divided up according to what the state sees fit. The three different types of wills that you have available to you in California are the attorney-prepared will, a holographic will, and a statutory will. The differences in these wills have more to do with their preparation than their execution, but it is best to know all the options available to you before you proceed with this step of your estate planning.
Out of all three types, the most strongly recommended last will and testament is a will that has been prepared by a qualified will and probate attorney. Will and probate attorneys have knowledge of all of California’s diverse estate laws that ultimately decide what makes your last will and testament legitimate in the eyes of the state.
Making a will with the help of a will and probate attorney is useful because we can lay out all of the options available to you, including some that you may not have even known existed. For example, not everyone is aware that they do not have to give each of their individual beneficiaries their inheritance promptly upon their death. If you have a minor child that you don’t think is ready to be given a substantial amount of money, you could put it into a trust that they will only be able to access once they hit a certain age.
Your second option when making your will during the process of estate planning is to craft one that is handwritten. If you choose to go this route, it is important to note that the document must be written completely in your own handwriting, and it must be legible.
Once you have finished drafting your holographic last will and testament, you must sign and date it. You should also back and re-read it to make sure that what you want is very clearly stated and there is no room for misinterpretation. It must be easy to determine what you are leaving and to whom you are leaving it.
If your holographic will is in any way vague, ambiguous, or otherwise open to any interpretation at all, it could potentially be considered invalid by the state. This could cause serious complications for your listed beneficiaries upon your death. No notary or witness is required for a holographic last will and testament in California.
This is an extremely easy Mad Libs-style will. The state of California offers a fill-in-the-blank type of last will and testament that can be handy for those with very limited and meager estates. As easy as this form is, however, people commonly have questions that they need to have answered before they can complete it. This leaves them in the position of having to consult an attorney even when creating a statutory will.
California Estate Law Attorney
All of these legal documents have far more legal nuance to them than is talked about here. This is just meant to provide a basic working knowledge of what each document entails to assist you in your understanding of estate planning.
If you find that you are still confused or have any worries about the future of your estate, contact the experienced and knowledgeable will and probate lawyers at the Leiva Law Firm. If you would like to meet with a will and probate attorney for a free consultation regarding your case, please reach out to the team here at Levia Law Firm by calling (818) 703-1777 today.