Thomas L. Gourde is an experienced estate planning attorney who understands California’s special requirements for California Estate Planning Trusts and Wills. For a will, when you are an executor, everything starts with the validity of the document and its language. It is the document that names you to serve as executor (although you must be given your legal authority by the probate court), and it contains directions you must follow when you eventually distribute the deceased person’s property. To begin, you will need to get your hands on the original document and file it with the local court (even if you do not think you will need to conduct a probate court proceeding).
Then you will need to spend time reading the document–not always an easy task since many wills are filled with “legalese.” An attorney can tell you how to decipher the terms of the will, and what kinds of provisions could cause confusion or family disputes. Outside circumstances can have a big effect on a will. For example, if the will-maker divorced after making the will, or had more children, the terms of the will may be affected by the changes.
California Estate Planning Trusts and Wills Requirements
For a Last Will and Testament in California, any person eighteen or more years of age who is of sound mind may create one. Sound mind generally means someone who has not been deemed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding. A will must be in writing, signed by the testator and by two witnesses. Witnesses to a will must be competent and not under any undue influence. Generally, it is recommended that the witnesses to the will be disinterested, which means that they are not beneficiaries of the will.
In California, the laws regarding the valid execution and witnessing of a Will are set forth in the California Probate Code; Division 6 Wills and Intestate Succession; Part 1 Wills; Chapter 1 General Provisions Section 6100; Chapter 2 Execution of Wills, Sections 6110 & 6112; and, Division 7 Administration of Estates of Decedents; Part 2 Opening Estate Administration; Chapter 3 Probate of Will; Article 2 Proof of Will, Section 8220.
A Consultation For Your Last Will and Testament In California
If you have questions about wills, trusts or other estate issues, please contact Mr. Gourde at (949) 825-6525 and he can assist you with your issues and concerns and answer your estate planning questions.