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California Last Will and Testament

A California Last Will and Testament (a "Will") is a legal document that lays out your wishes regarding property distribution after death, including who will inherit your money, your home, or your... Read more

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Making a Last Will and Testament in California

  • What is a California Last Will and Testament?

    A California Last Will and Testament (a "Will") is a legal document that lays out your wishes regarding property distribution after death, including who will inherit your money, your home, or your personal belongings.

    The person making a Will is known as the "testator," while the individuals or entities appointed to oversee the testator's estate after death are called "executors." Designed for residents of California, this free Last Will and Testament can be used in Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Orange County, and in any other part of the state. Any California Will from Rocket Lawyer can be fully customized to address your particular scenario. This legal document provides verification of your preferences.

  • How do I write a Will in California?

    It is very simple to set forth your wishes using a free California Last Will and Testament template from Rocket Lawyer:

    1. Make the document - Answer a few simple questions, and we will do the rest
    2. Send or share - Review your wishes with an attorney, if needed
    3. Sign it and make it legal - Mandatory or not, having two disinterested witnesses is recommended

    This solution is often notably less time-consuming than meeting and hiring a traditional lawyer. If needed, you can fill out a Last Will and Testament on behalf of your spouse or another relative, and then help that person sign when ready. Keep in mind that for this document to be accepted as legally valid, the testator must be an adult who is mentally competent when they sign. If the testator is already unable to make their own decisions, a conservatorship generally will be required. When managing such a scenario, it is best to talk to an attorney.

  • Why should I have a Will?

    Everyone over 18 years old ought to have a Last Will and Testament. Though it can be unpleasant to think about, your loved ones will want to know your wishes in relation to guardianship (when applicable), your property, and/or assets when you pass away. Here are some typical occasions in which it might be useful to make or update your Will:

    • You are aging or have declining health
    • You own a home or other property
    • Your marital status has changed
    • You have a new biological or adopted child

    Regardless of whether your California Last Will and Testament has been prepared as part of a forward-looking plan or created in response to a change in your life, notarization and/or witnesses can help to protect your document if anyone questions its authenticity.

  • Do I need a lawyer for my Will in California?

    Writing a Will is usually simple to do, but you or your executor may need legal advice. Hiring a lawyer to comment on your California Last Will and Testament can be expensive. An easier way to double-check your document is to go through attorney services at Rocket Lawyer. With a Premium membership, you can get your documents evaluated by an experienced attorney. You can rest assured that Rocket Lawyer will be by your side.

  • What might it traditionally cost for a lawyer to help me make a Will in California?

    The fees associated with finding and hiring a traditional attorney to produce a Last Will and Testament can total anywhere from two hundred to one thousand dollars, depending on where you are. When using Rocket Lawyer, you aren't just filling out a Last Will and Testament template. In case you ever need help from a lawyer, your Premium membership offers up to 40% in savings when you hire an attorney.

  • Am I required to do anything else after drafting a California Last Will and Testament?

    Once you have completed this customized Last Will on Rocket Lawyer, you will be able to retrieve it on any device, anytime. Feel free to try any or all of these actions with your document: making edits, printing it out, or signing it. Alongside each California Will, there will be a checklist of instructions for what comes next after the document is finished. Even if you make copies, make sure to store the signed original document in a safe place where it can't get wet or otherwise damaged. It is critical that your loved ones know where it can be found after you have passed.

  • Does a Last Will and Testament need to be notarized or witnessed in California?

    The specific guidelines and restrictions for Wills will vary by state; however, in California, your document requires two witnesses. As a basic rule, witnesses will need to be mentally competent individuals of sound mind. If one of the two witnesses is also named as a beneficiary of the Will, then the inheritance/gift to that person may be deemed void. This issue can be avoided by having more than one disinterested witness sign the document. Furthermore, it is strongly recommended that your Last Will be acknowledged by a notary public in order to emphasize its authenticity.

    See legal references for a Will in California: § 6110 - 6113

  • Does a Last Will and Testament need to be filed in California?

    A Will doesn't need to be filed until the testator passes away. In California, a Last Will and Testament must be filed for probate within 30 days of the testator's death. Filing the Will (in addition to any other forms requested by the county) allows for probate to begin.

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