What do I need to know about setting up a will in California?
The laws that govern the drafting, signing, and execution of wills in the state of California are not all that dissimilar to other U.S. states. California laws do require that the writer of a will, often referred to as the testator, be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind at the time of drafting the will. However, unlike some states, California does not recognize nuncupative wills, otherwise known as a will that is declared orally as opposed to in writing.
How does the state define a person of sound mind?
When a will is written and signed by an individual, the state does require that the individual be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. The state generally makes this determination based on two factors:
- The individual must have the mental capacity to be able to understand the nature of the testamentary act, as well as understand and recollect the nature and situation of the individual's property. The individual must also be able to remember and understand their relation to any living descendants, spouses, and parents of those whose interests are affected by the will.
- The individual must not suffer from a mental disorder with symptoms including delusions or hallucinations that would result in decisions that would otherwise not be made without the presence of said mental disorder.
If either one of these conditions is not met, any will drafted by that individual may not be legally recognized by the court, and thus will not be carried out. If an individual does pass without a recognizable will, their case will likely go to probate, which means your estate will be handled according to state probate law.
Don't Wait. California Wills And Trusts Law Can Help You Prepare Today
Most people assume that they have enough time to create a will or trust in the future. However, it's never too early to begin thinking about how your property will be distributed once you pass. California laws are designed to allow individuals to begin managing their assets and property while they are alive to ensure they are properly taken care of once they are gone. With a variety of different trust types that can be used to help you transfer benefits, property, and other assets, it's important that you have an experienced estate planning attorney that you can trust to protect the interests of you and your family. If you or someone you know is ready to set up an estate plan, call The Orantes Law Firm today to set up a free consultation and find out how we can help you prepare for tomorrow, today.