The importance of a well-drafted and up-to-date will cannot be overstated. Your will is your last opportunity to express affection for your loved ones and support for the charitable causes you cherish. Your will assures that you transfer your wealth in the manner you wish to the people you choose. Without a valid will, California inheritance law dictates what happens to your property, and the results could be contrary to your preferences. At Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation, we assist with all matters related to your last will and testament: effectively drafting, amending, and ultimately probating your will to ensure your intentions are implemented.
There are certain requirements for a valid last will and testament under California state law:
California law does allow for a holographic will. Therefore, a will written in the testator’s own hand does not have to be witnessed. This rule can apply to certain fill-in-the-blanks will forms.
The rules for drafting a valid will are simple, but just because a will is valid doesn’t mean it’s effective or even enforceable. There are common mistakes that inevitably occur when an inexperienced person tries to execute a will. Even if you adhere to the formalities above, your DIY will could suffer from:
To avoid these and other mistakes, consult an experienced estate planning attorney to create your will.
If you execute a will and stuff it in a drawer for 10 or 20 years, it is likely to be significantly outdated by the time it’s needed. It’s good policy to review your will every two to three years and amend it whenever your circumstances change. Otherwise, you could be neglecting defects, such as:
Amending your will is generally a simple process, but you must make sure the amended will meets all the requirements for executing an original will. We assist with modifications of your will to ensure its terms reflect current circumstances.
Probate is the process of getting court approval for the will and authorizing the executor to settle the decedent’s estate according to the terms of the will. We help clients probate their loved one’s wills. We also advise executors and defend wills against challenges from interested parties.
Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation handles estate planning matters, including wills, for California residents. Please call 559-432-9944 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our firm’s main office is in Fresno, but we also assist clients from locations in Paso Robles and Visalia.