How to Make a Will in California

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“How to make a will in California? Creating a will in California is a straightforward way to guarantee that your belongings are distributed as you desire among your family and loved ones. Wills are not all legally binding, however. There are many requirements for making a legal last testamentary will within California. If the will does not comply with the standards set out in California law, the probate court can declare it unenforceable.”

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How to Make a Will in California

The requirements for the validity of a will in California are as follows:

Ensuring your wealth is appropriately distributed to your loved family members is most straightforward with a will. California permits its residents to make wills. However, people must follow the rules before a judge determines whether it is legally legal. The lawyers at Weiner Law can help you determine the best options to ensure your legacy.

How to write a will in California? There are two main methods of making wills: statutory wills and wills that are holographic. Our legal experts explain how each has different requirements and purposes. We will also go over the fundamental steps involved in making the will to allow you to make informed decisions regarding the estate planning process in California.


Why Should You Need to Create a Will

The main benefit of wills is safeguarding your property and your family should something occur to you. The will contains clear guidelines regarding how to divide assets, who should care for your children who are not yet old enough, and other aspects of life that are significant to you. If you do not have this will, the government must decide the disposition of your possessions and the arrangements for guardianship of children.

A will lets you designate an executor to your estate who fulfills your desires. If you are the one who drafts your will, you’ll need to choose a reliable and accountable executor to manage the estate’s affairs. The duties could include:

  • The distribution of assets.
  • Paying taxes or bills.
  • Taking care of property.
  • Coordinating probate court processes.

The most frequent and costly mistake in estate planning is not putting your wishes in writing. It’s easy to forget, and if it’s not addressed, it could result in devastating for everyone affected, i.e., your family members, some of whom may be awaiting some inheritance upon your death based on agreements made verbally.


Make your will as quickly as you can

It is essential to make your will as quickly as you can since, in the event of your sudden death, your California law will likely be in effect. If you do not have a will, the loved one(s) cannot get the inheritance you want to leave them. The rules surrounding inheritance could be more precise. When you die, a lawyer specializing in estate planning will ensure the wishes of your loved ones are followed precisely how you would like them.

If you require legal advice to draft your will and select who your executor lawyers from Weiner Law will be, they can assist you in the law office in California. This is the best option to get honest, impartial counsel to aid you in making the right choices about your legacy.


California will Requirements

  1. In the state of California, one must be the age of 18 or be a legally emancipated child to sign an effective will.
  2. The person making the will, also known as the testator, should also be well-educated and have a sound mind. In essence, this means they are aware of the resources they possess in addition to the implications of writing an estate plan, are aware of their family members, and do not suffer from mental health issues that could influence decision-making or trigger hallucinations or loss of memory.
  3. Wills must be hard-copy copies and cannot be saved digitally, even though having backups of digital documents is always a good idea. In California, handwritten wills are legal. However, we prefer typed wills.
  4. In the end, the testator must witness a will with the assistance of two other witnesses who are not beneficiaries and who must sign the will.


How to Create a Will in California?

If you reside in California and want to create wills, there are a few points to be aware of. First, the person making the will (the testator) must write, put it in written form, and execute it. At least two witnesses who aren’t the will’s beneficiaries must also sign the will.

How to write your own will in California? Anyone over 18 can write a will; you don’t have to hire a lawyer to create your will. You can create it yourself. Here’s how to create wills:

  1. Choose the property you want to leave in your will.
  2. Determine who will take over your property.
  3. Select an executor to manage your estate.
  4. Choose a guardian for your children.
  5. Choose a person who will take care of the children’s property.
  6. Write your will, which you specify what you want you intend to do in your home. You can plan for the eventuality of being incapacitated and also provide your preferred funeral options and cremation.
  7. Maintain your documents up-to-date.
  8. Make your declaration before witnesses.
  9. Securely store your belongings.

The will does not include specific properties. Experts recommend having an experienced attorney review the will for any potential issues.

It’s not a pleasant thought to think about dying. It’s essential to prepare for the eventual. By planning, you can ensure that you look after your loved ones and determine your estate based on your preferences.


How Can You Make Your Will Valid In California?

To create a legally binding will, adhere to California’s legal requirements for wills, including your signature and witness presence.


How Can You Make Your Will Valid In California?



The testator either signs the will or asks an agent to sign the will at their side.



California needs, at minimum, two witnesses for the will. Witnesses must be present and witness the testator signing their will or make the testator signify that it is his signature in the document. The witnesses must also know they sign as witnesses on the testator’s will.

Be cautious when using witnesses who have a vested interest. An interested witness is also an individual beneficiary of the will or estate of the testator. An interested witness does not make your will invalid. If there aren’t two witnesses who are not interested, California assumes that the property gifted to the interested witness resulted from unjust influence or fraud.

The person who received the gift (interested witness) must demonstrate that the gift is valid. It is recommended that you choose disinterested witnesses at your will.



The document does not need you to get a notary public to attest to your declaration of intention to validate it. Using a self-proving affidavit or an attestation clause that requires a notary’s signature is helpful.


Self-Proving Affidavit:

California permits you to include an attestation clause in your will, making it self-proving. An Attestation clause is a document your witnesses sign when you make your will.

The witnesses affirm that they saw that you signed the will or that you signed your name on the will and you were aware that you signed your will. A notary must sign the Affidavit.

The benefit of this provision is that the will is self-proving and accelerates the probate process. The probate court doesn’t require evidence of your signature; your witnesses don’t need to verify that you’ve made the will.


California Wills and Trusts – What’s the Difference?

Wills and Living Trusts serve the goal of distributing assets to loved ones upon the passing of your loved ones. In addition, the two instruments of estate planning work differently from one another.

The main distinction in California Wills and Trusts is the probate court’s involvement. In a review, all assets not held in the Trust are subject to California probate procedure. If your estate plan comprises only a Will, your estate has to go through probate.

The probate aims to audit and distribute assets and property with prudence. However, we can see that the California Probate courts currently need help. That means your loved ones might be waiting for a long time before they get rightfully theirs. Additionally, the outcome of your estate will be dependent on the court. You could have had more control by establishing a Trust. Not to mention the probate court costs, this will consume your estate, leaving less to your family.

There are other differences in Wills and living trusts that one should be aware of:

  • You can intend a Will to specify how you would like your affairs handled in the event of your demise.
  • The assets held in a Trust in a Trust, unlike Wills, are not susceptible to probate.
  • Living Trusts Living Trust allows you to create protection for your assets during your entire life.
  • A Trust can grant a Trustee the authority to manage your assets indefinitely.
  • A Will lets you choose guardianship for your minor children.


California Will FAQs

Are you still having questions? Read on. We’ve got answers.


What is the consequence if I don’t have wills in California?

Intestacy is the term used to describe a person who dies without making a Will. If you pass away without a will, the state takes control and determines how your assets are distributed. Do not die without the will!

There indeed exists an established family tree California employs for the intestate succession; however, relying on this could be a colossal error. Here’s why.

In the first place, you may not be happy with the decisions of the state. In addition, if you don’t have living relatives through marriage or blood when they die, it’s the responsibility of the state to take your assets.


What is the value of the estate tax for California?

There’s good news for you. California doesn’t charge an inheritance tax.


Do wills need to be notarized in California?

It’s a good thing again. Notarization is not mandatory legally to will making in California. While it is not legally mandatory, we still recommend it.


Can handwritten will be legally executed in California?

The holographic wills (aka handwritten wills) are legal in California. It’s the case that a handwritten will is superior to none at all, but it is best to make your will before making final decisions regarding the handwritten will.


Can I change or revoke the terms of my California will?

In California, it is possible to alter or revoke the terms of your estate at any point before your death. Revoking the will signifies nullifying it through shredding, burning, tearing, or deleting it. You’re also eliminating your will in the hopes of rescinding it.

Modifying the terms of a will implies that you’re signing the terms of a supplement (an elaborate legal term that refers to an updated document for the terms of a will) to change the provisions in your original will. Marking some words and then adding handwritten corrections is impossible.

You must utilize a supplement to make the modifications. Life requires changes because it is unpredictable. We understand this. But to follow California law, the codicil must meet the exact requirements as the original will.


Do I require an attorney to making a will in California?

There’s no need for lawyers to create an estate plan in California. If your situation is simple (take this quick test to determine whether you’ll need the services of a lawyer), you can use a template you can download or the simple, computer-driven online forms that lawyers write.


Bottom Line

How do I get a will? In the United States, the laws and procedures to make a will are set by the state where you reside. How to make wills in California is explained in California Probate Code Section 6110. This section outlines the conditions.

If there are questions about what a phrase or clause in the will means, the person who knows the most will already be gone. This makes writing a will different from other types of writing. For any other document, the person who created the document and is most likely to have the answer to any questions about interpretation remains around.

Making a Will is the best protection you can offer your inheritors. If you are unable to make the right decision and the Will is not executed correctly, it could not be able to survive probate. If you want to ensure that you have a sound Will that reflects your desires and protects your heirs’ rights. Our estate planning lawyer will be available to review your wishes, discuss making or revising your will, and provide further details to help make a more efficient estate plan.

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