A will is an important legal document that every adult should have. Your will determines what happens to your possessions after you pass away, which ultimately determines how you can continue to take care of your loved ones after your death. If you’re like the average American, however, you may be putting off writing a will until it feels relevant. This could end with you waiting until it’s too late. It’s time to learn how to fill out a will in California and start the process today for the sake of everyone you care about most.

In California, there is a simple, statutory will form available from the California State Bar that you can fill out in your home. Once you complete this form and sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are not named in your will, you have a valid will in the state. Filling out a will in California using this statutory form is an easy first step to get your bases covered.

The California statutory will addresses the bare minimum of all legal issues that may come up in probate when your assets are being distributed. The statutory will names who will receive your property and money, as well as who will serve as your child’s guardian, if relevant. The will has you also name an executor who will be in charge of carrying out your wishes as written in the will.

Is the Statutory Will Enough for My Family?

Many people like the simplicity of filling out a will in California on your own. The “do-it-yourself” method of will-making has grown in popularity, but is it enough? In some cases, such as when you own few major assets and do not have children, a simple California will using the statutory form is sufficient to cover your needs. Other times, it can leave complex messes to be sorted out by your family while they grieve.

As we age and acquire possessions, more situations may crop up than can be sufficiently addressed in such a basic form. The statutory will is designed to be easy enough for anyone to understand, but that’s why it cannot get into more complicated specifics, such as how you want your children to be raised or how you want investments to be passed on. The more assets you own or the more specific your requests, the less likely you will be able to fill out a California statutory will on your own that covers all the important points.

In these cases, it can help to consult an estate lawyer and get a custom will written up that will address all your needs. An estate lawyer can guide you as you plan and draft a final will that considers every possible need and outcome during probate. If you are not sure whether or not you need an estate attorney’s help, it may help to discuss your specific situation with us at Larsen Law. We are happy to provide a preliminary consultation where we can discuss your needs and options. It’s important to plan for the future, and we’d love to help you start planning your estate today.