A will is a legal document that declares how your assets should be divided in the event of your passing. This will help secure the future for your loved ones. Passing away without a will is called dying “intestate.” This means that your assets will be obtained by the state of California and distributed by the state. When this occurs, your assets are not distributed according to your wishes, which can be extremely difficult for your loved ones. Additionally, if your will is not valid, it can be contested, which will also lead to legal trouble for your loved ones, during which should be a time of mourning. Read on to learn more about creating a valid will in California.
What makes a will valid?
A valid will must contain several different elements. A valid will meets the following requirements:
- The testator must be at least 18 years old and of “sound mind and memory”
- The testator must either sign the will themselves or another person must sign the testator’s name at their direction and in their presence
- At least two people must witness the signature and sign their names on the will within 30 days of each other
- At some point during the will’s execution and attestation, the testator must tell each witness that the document is their will
Reasons to contest a will:
There are a number of reasons a beneficiary would want to contest a will in California. One of the most common reasons to contest a will is when someone questions its validity. Numerous parties can contest a will. For example, a will can be contested by the executor, any heirs, spouses, creditors, or anyone else with a property right or claim against the estate. Some of the most typical causes a will is found invalid include:
- If the will was not executed properly
- If fraud or forgery took place
- If it was created under the influence of another party
- If the deceased was not mentally competent when writing the will
What if the will is found invalid?
In the event that a court deems a will invalid, it will likely be thrown out. If there is no other will, the deceased individual’s assets will be passed on through the California succession plan.
In order to create a valid will, be sure to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Contact our Firm
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Do not delay. Estate planning is a more urgent matter than you may think. You never know what the future holds. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.