Understanding What Makes a Will Valid to Probate in the State of California
The legal term that is used when presenting a will to court is probate. The probate process will put the will through specific steps, as it is used to ensure that all the testator’s outstanding debts are completely satisfied before any assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. When a will is probated, any assets or property of the estate will be allocated in accordance to the terms of the will. In the event that the will is invalid or there is no will, the State of California will make a decision, based on succession laws, as to who gets the property or assets of the estate.
Based on California’s Probate Code §6110, valid wills will be able to enter probate if they are drafted and also executed in the following method:
- Valid Wills Must Be Written – Wills must be written in order to be considered as valid. They can be either handwritten or they can be typed. Any changes made to a written will can present legal complications, especially when not done correctly. For instance, any changes made by hand can be contested as not being made by the testator, the individual drafting the will. When making changes, it is best to make a whole new will, known as a codicil.
- Valid Wills Must Be Signed and Dates – The testator will need to be over the age of 18 and be of sound mind when he or she is signing a will. This means that the testator will need to have the legal capability to reason and understand for his or herself. While a diminished mental capacity will not prevent a person from making a will, the will can be challenged.
- Valid Wills Must Be Signed By Two Witnesses – According to the state’s probate law, the will needs to be signed by two people who are present at the signing of the will. Additionally, the witnesses will be required to sign an affidavit, which acknowledges the testator’s mental capacity. A common misconception is that a notary is required, but in fact, in California this can cause more work later in validating the Will.
- Valid Wills Must Identify Beneficiaries – The testator can give any assets to any person or business he or she wishes, however, all property must be clearly identified in order to ensure the will’s validity.
Obtain Help to Prepare a Valid Will in California
Upon a formal probate proceeding, the state court will determine whether the will is legal and binding. When writing and signing a will, it is important to make sure the will holds validity in order to prevent the wrongful distribution of the estate. Seek the legal support of a qualified attorney who can make sure your will stand in court when it is most needed.
In response to the COVID-19 virus, the Moga Law Firm is offering California residents a free will. While the novel Coronavirus wreaks havoc across the nation, many people who have contracted the virus are left with fear and anxiety over the future of their loved ones. From now until the foreseeable future, Attorney Scot T. Moga will work diligently to prepare wills for California residents who want one, completely free of charge. Visit the Moga Law Firm Covid-19 update page to learn more or contact the firm for any questions.
Scot Thomas Moga, a dedicated attorney in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties who represents clients in the many types of personal injury, workers’ compensation and estate planning cases.