How to Write a Legal Will in California

There are 3 way to write a will if you live in California.

  • Hire the services of a lawyer to get the job done.

  • You can write it yourself.

  • Open your computer and download a preprinted form and fill it.

Why write a will

If Mr. A dies intestate, his property is divided up by the state law. If Mr. A is childless, his spouse inherits all of his property, according to California law. For some people writing a will is not an important thing. But writing a will is a good thing for the following reasons.

  • You don’t want California law to distribute your assets.

  • You want someone (an executor) to manage your estate.

  • You want someone to inherit your assets who cannot inherit from you if California law distributes your assets.


Make a List of Your Possessions

Before you start writing your will, there is one thing you need to do. You need to make a list of your belongings you can start from the big stuff like bank accounts, the house etc. Now comes the important question, how you want to distribute your assets. You can give equal shares to all heirs or you may choose to give one heir more than others it is up to you. You may want someone to have particular assets, list those assets.

There are some assets that go to their named beneficiaries such as life insurance. You need to be very careful while writing your will. If one heir inherits $60,250 IRA, you might want to give your other children more in the will to compensate.

The Pre-printed Form

For uncomplicated estates, the pre-printed California will is the best thing. You just have to name the person who you want to have your estate. You are also able to give particular assets to other individuals. You need to hire the services of a lawyer, if you have a complex estate. An experienced lawyer can easily do the job for you. You can also rewrite your form will later.

Once you have made your will, date it and sign it. You need to have two witnesses sign the will as well. The will is not required to be notarized.

A Holographic Will

A holographic will is the will written 100 percent in your handwriting with nothing typed. Basically it is a legal term used for a will in your own handwriting. But the will must be clear and readable. A holographic will does not require witnesses if it meets all the requirements.

Hiring the Services of a Lawyer

You can have the chances of error reduced in your will by hiring a competent lawyer. Now the question is what you want your lawyer to do. The lawyer will distribute the property as he will be directed by you. Remember this will require 2 witnesses.

Where to Place It

When you are done writing your will, place it somewhere your heirs will be sure to find it. Remember your heirs must be able to find the will. The will is completely useless if they are unable to find it. Keep your will updated. There are different things or events that can force you to make necessitate changes like divorce, buying new assets etc.