A will is a legal document that states a person's final wishes after their death. As an example, a will can name an executor to handle the individual's affairs, provide for pets and decide how debts and taxes should be paid. California allows individuals to make their will in one of three different ways.
First, there is the handwritten or what is known as a holographic will. This type of will is written completely in the individual's own handwriting and must be dated and signed. This type of will does not need to be notarized and the individual does not have to sign the will in front of witnesses. It is important to note, however, that making any additions to the will that are typed rather than handwritten can actually make the will invalid.
Second, there is what is known as a statutory will. This type of will generally is a simple "fill-in-the blanks" type of form. Statutory wills were created for people who have relatively small estates with little to be left behind. This type of will can actually be found and printed out from the State Bar of California's website.
Finally, there is the will prepared by an attorney. Using an attorney to draw up a will can ensure that the contents of the will are legal and conform with the laws of California. Wills that are prepared by an attorney are generally signed by the individual and witnessed by two people who are not beneficiaries of the estate. The attorney typically will supervise the signing or provide detailed instructions on how the will should legally be signed.
Individuals who are interested in learning more about the various type of wills and how we can assist with your will may find information on our website.