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Online Wills in California: California Will Form Sites
No matter how much money or how many assets you have, you most likely care a lot about who will inherit your belongings after you pass away. To ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, you need to create a last will and testament in line with the estate laws of your state. Writing a will in California is a straightforward process that can easily be done from the comfort of your home using an online will maker website. California law allows any individual over 18 years of age to create a last will and testament as long as they are of sound mind. California will forms have to be either written by hand or typewritten, you can’t make an legally valid oral will in this state.
There are a number of dedicated that offer online wills in California. Each of these companies has different services, features, and pricing policies. For instance, eForms sells estate planning documents for $45 apiece or you can purchase a subscription for $39 per month. In addition to California will forms, they also sell templates for a living trust, living will, power of attorney, and other documents for estate planning. One of the main advantages of online will services is their affordability. While having a lawyer draw up your will typically costs hundreds of dollars, a typical online will costs under $100. For example, Nolo online wills cost just $59.99 per document, while Law Depot sells wills for $49.95.
With nearly 40 million people residing in California, it is the most populous state in the US. California is a fairly young state, as residents older than 65 make up just 13% of its population.
Population over 65
Population over 85
Average Household Size
Average household wealth
Lawyer hourly rate
Even though the state ranks 2nd in the US for the number of attorneys, the average rate charged by lawyers is $338 per hour, the 4th highest lawyer rate in America. This means that in-person attorney services are particularly expensive in California, which is why the idea of creating a California will online is especially appealing.
How to Write a Will in California?
Yourself or authorized representative
Testator minimum age
There are a few requirements that people who want to create a last will and testament in California have to follow. First of all, the testator (the person writing the will) must be at least 18 years of age and should be able to make decisions and understand consequences, i.e. be of sound mind. All legal wills in California must be signed by either the testator, someone else who is directed to sign the document by the testator in his or her presence, or a conservator appointed by a court order to make a will.
If the will is typewritten, at least two witnesses who are present at the same time must sign the document. California estate laws don’t allow oral wills, so even simple California will forms have to be written by hand or typewritten. The state does not place any restrictions on potential beneficiaries, so you can name any person, company, organization, government entity, and even country as your beneficiary.
Types of Wills Recognized by California
Typewritten will – these wills need to be signed by the testator or a person acting on the testator’s behalf, along with two witnesses.
Holographic will – this is a will written entirely by hand and signed by the testator. These wills do not require witness signatures to be legally valid.
California Statutory Will – this refers to simple fill-in-the-blanks California will forms. Essentially, this is any California last will and testament template that has been filled out and signed by the testator.
How to Change or Revoke a California Last Will and Testament?
California allows its residents to change their wills at any point in time until the testator’s death. To change a will in California, you need to create a codicil, which is a will amendment that’s created by following proper will-making procedures. If you simply cross out a portion of your old will or add sentences to it, the changes won’t be valid. This is done for security purposes to make sure that someone didn’t secretly change your will without your approval.
To revoke a will in California, you can destroy it by burning, tearing, obliterating, or causing other significant damage to the document. Creating a new will that contradicts the old one will also effectively revoke the first will.
Living Trust in California
A California living trust is an estate planning document that transfers all or a portion of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. You can still control and manage your assets as the trustee of the trust, or you can appoint a different person or company to do it for you. After your death, the assets in the trust will be distributed according to your wishes. Irrevocable trusts can’t be amended or revoked after the paperwork is signed.
One major benefit of creating a living trust in California is that it allows your beneficiaries to avoid going through the probate court after your demise. This can save your family considerable time and money in attorney and executor fees. Additionally, creating a trust will allow you to maintain your privacy, since information about assets that are a part of a trust is not revealed to the public, unlike the contents of a will. There are two main types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable.
What happens if you don’t have a will in California?
If you die without creating a will in California, your assets will have to go through the probate process and a court will distribute your property to your surviving relatives in accordance with intestate succession laws.
Do wills in California need to be notarized?
No, California does not require a will to be notarized to become legal. If your California will is typewritten, it needs to be signed by two witnesses, if the will is written by hand, only the testator’s signature is required.
How do I avoid probate in California?
Creating a living trust and putting your assets in that trust allows you to prevent your estate from going through the probate process after your death. Virtually all your property can be transferred to a living trust and if you appoint yourself as the trustee, you will maintain full control over the assets in the trust.
How much does it cost to make a will in California?
A will created by a lawyer in California can easily cost several hundred dollars, but you can make a California will online for around $50. Online wills are just as legally valid as documents made by attorneys.
Is an out-of-state will valid in California?
California generally recognizes out-of-state wills as valid. However, to make things easier for your will executor and dependants and ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes, it’s best to update your will after moving to California.
Concluding Words About California Wills
California last will and testament requirements are quite simple. Any person over 18 years of age can make simple California will as long as they are of sound mind. California wills can be typewritten, written by hand, or created by filling out the blanks in a will form. To become valid, the will needs to be signed by the testator and two witnesses who are present at the same time. If you’re writing the will by hand, no witness signatures are required.
Online wills in California are excellent alternatives to wills created by lawyers. They are affordable, easy to create, and don’t require a lot of time. There are numerous online will makers that offer will templates to California residents.