Each state in the country has its own set of estate planning rules for what constitutes a valid and legal will. For this reason, readers of this post are encouraged to fully understand the estate planning laws in their state. However, this post will offer an overview of what California residents must do in order to have valid wills.
In California, a person must be an adult in order to draft and execute a will. That means that they must be at least 18 years of age when their will is made valid. Individuals under the age of 18 may not be considered to have testamentary capacity to create such important legal documents.
Testamentary capacity, also called soundness of mind, is require of adult will makers as well. A person must understand what they are doing in their will, and what purpose their will serves. Individuals who lack the ability to understand the purpose and consequences of their wills may not be allowed to execute such devices.
California wills must be written because the state does not recognize spoken wills. In most instances, wills will be typed out and formally prepared, but under certain circumstances, handwritten wills may be accepted by the courts. These wills must meet their own specific guidelines.
A will is a powerful tool in a person’s estate planning process and should be drafted in accordance with our state’s estate planning law. Nonetheless, this post should not be used as legal advice or guidance and offers information only.