So you decided to look into creating your own will what now?
Most people know or have heard about a Will but don’t really understand the process after they write one so let’s start from the beginning.
If you don’t want to hire an attorney, it is recommended at a minimum that you write your own will.
The purpose of a Will is to avoid your state’s probate (default) rules concerning the property you leave on this earth when you transition.
Probate rules were not written with you in mind. They were written to be strict but "efficient" rules that apply to the nameless faceless general population who didn't leave a will or estate plan.
This means the law will make assumptions about what you wanted to happen to your property. For example, the law assumes: your children are perfectly capable of handling large sums of money at age 18, you get along with all of your family, and no one will fight over your assets.
Usually at least one of these is far from the truth so here is what you need to do to control your legacy with a Will in California.
(Informal) Holographic Will:
1. You have to be at least 18 years old.
2. You have to handwrite your entire will (no filling in the blanks or typing it up and signing).
3. You have to sign and date your Will.
Complying with these requirements will allow you to avoid needing witnesses or a notary.
If you decide you don’t want to write your own will the same rules apply, you need to be 18 and you will have to sign your will, however, you can type your will or have it drafted by an attorney and need to get witnesses to sign (present at the same time) that they:
1. witnessed the signing of the will (by you);
2. were told it was your will;
3. believed you were of sound mind and memory; and,
4. to the best of their knowledge you were not acting under fraud, duress, menace, or undue influence
Remember a will cannot be oral; it must be in writing and you can leave property your possessions to individuals, corporations, unincorporated associations, societies, lodges, counties, cities, municipal corporations, states, countries, and other governmental entities, among others.
On My Own Financial and our licensed California Attorney, Jala Eaton Esq. CTFA, can help you map out your distribution plan and draft your will after one virtual meeting. On My Own Financial also offers other products and services to help you protect your assets. The Controlling Your Legacy ebook is available now and we also draft living trusts and can audit your existing estate plans.