For better or for worse, no one lives forever. And a person who has lived a wonderful, eventful life and has a family, friends, and cozy home can pass away with the same dignity they lived with. A vital juridical document called the last will and testament form allows upstanding citizens to provide for their loved ones, offspring, friends, along with chosen organizations and companion animals even after they are no longer alive. Thus, a California last will and testament helps responsible residents of the Golden State to ensure that their last wish is granted no matter what.
Similarly to the last will, there is an advance directive or a living will – a legal paper created when a person becomes physically or mentally incapable of making any difficult choices, particularly those concerning decisions on the rendering or refusing medical care. Such a legal instrument comes into operation when an individual is still alive, in contrast to the last will, which goes into force only upon the testator’s demise.
Download your fillable California Last Will and Testament Form in PDF format:
– Adobe PDF
Is It Obligatory to Have a Last Will and Testament?
Even though having a last will is not a mandatory condition for a law-abiding citizen, it has plenty of benefits that can guarantee a safe and comfortable future for the people and animals dear to your heart. For instance, the estate-leaver can peacefully leave this life knowing that their valuable possessions were appropriately distributed. This is guaranteed by the appointment of a reliable person to the “position” of a will’s executor, whose loyalty has been tested by time. Such an individual will take charge of the proper asset allocation in compliance with the deceased’s last will.
The last will can be used for a host of essential purposes, but its primary benefit is the opportunity given to the estate-leaver to decide how to dispose of their earthly possessions one the last time. This crucial legal document is designed to guarantee that every single part of your wealth will be transferred to those to whom it is intended according to your last will.
Besides that, such a legal paper will come in handy if you need to appoint your minor children’s official guardian who will take care of them and their parts of the inheritance until they reach 18.
Besides that, a timely drawn-up will can eliminate or minimize state involvement in the distribution of your property. Although every written last will and testament should be validated in the Probate Court, it is highly unlikely that the decedent would want the government to decide for them such a critical issue as their assets’ distribution. As for the ratification of such a juridical document, the executor of the will has to send a petition to the court for the latter to set a testament approval date. If a person failed to assign the executor, the Probate Court would resolve this issue itself.
The Golden State does stipulate a simplified procedure for surviving significant others and life partners that lets them obtain their part of the testator’s estate without the need to be present during the full probate process. In case your California last will and testament contains the statement that you wanted your valuables to be given to your surviving marital partner or common-law husband/wife, they can simply apply for the Spousal or Domestic Partner Property Petition provided by California Probate Code Section 13650.
What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
Whenever a person passes away without writing a last will in advance, it leads to the intestacy laws kicking in. According to California state law (6100-6806 titled Wills and Intestate Succession), if you die without previously composing a will, your material and financial legacy is primarily assigned to your spouse or life companion, then your descendants, parents, brothers or sisters, and other immediate relatives of you or your significant other. When the deceased leaves behind no living close relatives, it entails their entire pecuniary heritage being handed over to the state.
Now you can see why it is of utmost importance to create a will beforehand to protect your right to control your valuable belongings’ division without the state’s involvement.
Rules to Follow When Making a Last Will in California
An adequately composed last will for California residents should comply with the following principal requirements:
- The individual who bequeaths certain assets should be of the age of legal majority (and older).
- The estate-leaver must be sane and do not act under duress.
- This legal paper must be signed by the testator or its lawful representative, following the testator’s direction.
- At least two witnesses need to be present during the signing of the last will and testament (as per section 6110 of the California code). They also must put their signatures on this juridical document.
- Oral wills are not accepted, only written ones.
- The list of successors may indicate not only people but also companies, charity organizations, cities, and even whole countries.
- Alongside other states of the USA, California considers holographic will to be a valid legal instrument. Such a will doesn’t require the presence of a notary public or witnesses and can be made and signed only by the testator.
Altering or Annulling a Last Will and Testament in California
Upon the testator’s desire, the existing will can be changed once in a while, which is encouraged by the State Bar of California to ensure that their initial intentions were clear. For altering the text of their last will and testament, you will need a codicil, a written application to the original will.
You may also revoke your will by composing a new one or destroying it wholly or partially. It must be done only by the one who devises the property or their legal representative.
If you are ready to draw up a last will, our top-notch free form of a California last will and testament will help you do so correctly and effortlessly.
Other California Forms By Type
Other Last Will and Testament Forms By State
- Arizona will form
- Colorado will template
- Florida will
- Georgia will form
- Illinois last will and testament
- Maryland will template
- Michigan will form
- MN will form
- New Jersey will form
- New York last will and testament
- NC will template
- Ohio last will and testament
- Oregon will form
- PA will template
- SC will
- Tennessee will form
- Texas last will and testament
- Virginia will template
- Washington state will template
- Wisconsin last will and testament