How do I make sure my will is valid in California?

When creating your estate plan, it is important to seek guidance from an experienced attorney who can help ensure that your will is valid. Some people make the mistake of trying to execute a will on their own without understanding all of the requirements that are outlined under California law. If your will is determined not to be valid, the assets of your estate may not pass to the people you want to have them.

Requirements for a Valid Will

What are the requirements for a valid will? The following is an overview:

  1. The will should be in writing.
  2. The will must be signed by you, as the testator or testatrix, which means the creator of the will.
  3. The will can be signed by someone else if you’re unable to do it yourself. It must be signed by someone else in your name, in your presence, and at your direction. In the alternative, your will may be signed by your conservator.
  4. Your will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. These people must be present at the same time, and they must either see you sign the will or see you acknowledge that you signed it.
  5. The two witnesses must also understand that the instrument they are signing is your will.
  6. The will must be signed when you are of sound mind. You must understand what you are signing, the nature of your property and who you are leaving it to, and you must not be under the influence of fraud, duress, or coercion.

In some cases, a will that does not comply with these requirements may still be valid, but this requires the guidance and assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. It is best to abide by the general requirements for a valid will under California law in order to reduce the likelihood of challenges down the road.

Creating a will that is valid is crucial to ensuring that your estate is carried out in the manner you wish after you die. Fortunately, we are here to help. To learn more, we encourage you to contact us today at (714) 459-5481.