Each state has their own requirements about what makes a will legally valid. It's important when creating your own will to have these requirements in mind. Even a minor error can cause the will to be challenged in court. In a worst-case scenario, a will could be rendered invalid. Since it's not worth the risk, it's key to make sure you know the basic requirements and have a knowledgeable Orange County Estate Planning Attorney create your will.
Per California Probate Code Section 6110, there are a few basic requirements for a will:
• The will should be in writing, even though it can be handwritten or typed. A typed will is preferred.
• The will must be signed by witnesses, unless it is a true “holographic” will.
• The will must clearly identify beneficiaries.
• The will should be signed and dated by the testator (the person who created it.)
If there are heirs that you will not be passing down assets to, any confusion or omissions in the will could pave the way for a will challenge. The cost of responding to the will challenge with your estate administrator adds more time and can also deplete funds that you intended for your chosen beneficiaries.
It's also important to understand that a will, by itself, generally still requires the involvement of the Probate Court including the costs and delays associated therewith.
The more work you do with your Orange County Estate Planning Attorney, the easier it will be to show that your will was your true intention and that it is valid. To discuss how to begin or update your estate plan now, set up a consultation with a California Estate Planning Attorney.