SmartLaw: Attorney and Lawyer Referral Service. Divorce, bankruptcy, criminal, accident, business
SmartLaw.org
Home
 
The Los Angeles County Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service, the largest and oldest such service in the United States, has hundreds of pre-screened, qualified and insured lawyers in the Los Angeles area who can help you with your legal issues. Contact us now and our courteous, professionally trained staff will help you connect you with the right lawyer. The LRIS is a nonprofit public service of LACBA.

Message #661 California statutory will forms

mp3 #661 California Statutory Will Forms (mp3 file)


Have you always intended to get a will drawn up, to dispose of your property when you die, but you just keep putting it off? In the past, you either had to go to an attorney to draft a formal will for you, or you had to write your own will all in your own handwriting, called a holographic will. Many people never get around to seeing an attorney for a will, and many other people do not know how to begin writing their own will. But now there is also an easy and inexpensive way to have a legal will, without necessarily seeing a lawyer, and without writing it all yourself.

California law permits you to buy a printed statutory will form at your local stationary store, or from the State Bar of California. These wills are written in simple English, and they are easy to understand. All you have to do is to fill in the blanks yourself, have it witnessed properly, and you have a legal will. However, you must use the printed form which is approved by state law, and you are not allowed to make any changes or additions on the form. The printed form is called a "California Statutory Will." California was the first state in the United States to have this type of printed will. This will form is based on California law, and is designed for California residents only.

As long as you are at least 18 years of age, and you are of sound mind, you are eligible to use one of these California Statutory Will forms. You may be single, married or divorced. But these forms are not suitable for everyone. These forms are for the person who is not wealthy, whose financial situation is not complicated, whose plan for disposing of property at the time of death is a simple one, and does not require the creation of a trust. Everyone else should consult an attorney, for a custom-tailored will and estate plan. And even if you use the statutory will form, you may still want to see a lawyer, to discuss any additions or amendments, called codicils, that you may want to attach to the printed will form. Your lawyer can also advise you about any tax problems or money management problems that your survivors may experience, as a result of your will.

What can you do with these will forms when you fill in the blanks?

The statutory will form gives you the opportunity to make specific gifts of your personal residence, of your automobiles, household, and personal effects, of cash, and of the balance of your assets. The form also allows you to appoint a guardian for your minor children, to appoint a guardian of your children's assets up to the age of 25, to name an executor of your estate, and to either require or waive a bond for your executor.

The statutory will form contains blank boxes for you to fill in with names and signatures in each section. It also includes clear instructions for you to follow. The form also includes answers to 20 questions people often ask about statutory wills.

If your marriage ends by divorce or annulment after you have used this statutory will form, then any gift you had made in this will to your ex-spouse is revoked. Also revoked is any appointment you had made of your ex-spouse as an executor or guardian.

You will need at least two adult witnesses to sign your statutory will form. The witnesses may not be persons who are beneficiaries of your will.

The California Statutory Will form may or may not be the best for you. But if you determine that this form does meet your needs for a will, it gives you a simple and inexpensive way to have one, either by doing it yourself, or in consultation with your lawyer.

The best way for you to understand your choices on the statutory will form is to download your own copy of the form from the State Bar Association’s website http://calbar.ca.gov, and read it for yourself. The form is also printed in the California Probate Code, section 6240. The California Probate Code is available in all county law libraries, some public libraries or online at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Back to Top

() -

 
 

Find a lawyer outside of California.