Wills
California Last Will and Testament Template
start my ESTATE PLAN

California Last Will and Testament Template

By 

Jennifer Mcgee

Head of Legal at TrulyWill

A California Last Will and Testament is a Legal document by which the people of California may distribute their estate (personal belongings, real estate, bank accounts, money etc.) among their loved ones as per their wish. This document will be effective only after the death of the testator (the person who created the Will).

Table of Contents

Download a sample Will now. 

Click here to download California Last Will and Testament Template from TrulyWilll.

Once you have downloaded this DIY Last Will and Testament template for California; 

  1. Fill it out and validate your will as per your state laws. 
  2. If it feels overwhelming you can try TrulyWill, where you can DIY with the help of guide questions and support to answer your queries too. You can also book an attorney if you need specific legal advice for a nominal fee. 
  3. Use the platform to come back and update your will as per your convenience. 

This template will help you to create a Will with a simple estate plan. If you have a high net worth or any other complex issues in your personal or financial life; you should discuss it with one of our attorneys to avoid your Will from being rejected by the probate court at a later stage.

In addition to this, below, you can find all the relevant information about the legal requirements for making a valid last Will in California along with the frequently asked questions.

Testator’s requirements:

In California, any person who is 18 or more years of age and is of sound mind may make a Will.

Sound mind- A person is said to be of sound mind if he is capable of knowing the nature of the act he is involved in and is able to distinguish between right and wrong. In simple words, you must be aware that you own some property for which you are creating a Will, and to whom you are making the beneficiaries.  

Signature Requirements in Will:

Every Will in California must be signed by the Testator and at least 2 witnesses which may be interested.

Note - There are various exceptions and special rules but these are the standard requirements for California wills.

Estate and inheritance tax in California :

Estate Tax - In the US, your estate is usually subjected to estate tax at state level as well as federal level. Like most of the states, California does not collect any estate taxes. 

Inheritance Tax -  Inheritance tax is paid when a person inherits a property or asset from an estate. California does not collect any Inheritance tax, neither does the US federal government.

Stepwise procedure on what to include in the Last Will and Testament for California.

STEP 1 : List your Assets.

Firstly, make a list of everything you own, from tangible to Intangible assets. This may include your personal property, real estate, bank accounts, jewelleries, life insurance policies.

This will help you understand which asset will be transferred through your Will or other modes.



ITEM VII

All household goods, silverware, equipment, appliances, furniture and furnishings, clothing, jewelry, personal effects, automobiles, and all other tangible personal property not otherwise specifically devised hereunder or pursuant to Item III hereunder, owned by me at the time of my death, I devise to _________________________, or in default thereof, this gift shall lapse.  For purposes hereof, cash, coins or currency shall be deemed intangible personal property.

STEP 2 : Choose Beneficiaries.

A Beneficiary is a person or an entity( trust or organization) in whose name you bequest your assets in the Will. Your family, friends, relatives or any other person whom you want can be a beneficiary under your Will.

You also have the right to disinherit any relative, child or spouse from your Will whenever you want. It is advised to take legal help for this purpose.

          

                        I declare that I am not married. I have no children living or other lineal descendants/ I have two (2) children.  My children are Child 1, born December 1, 2000 and Child  2 born February 2, 2015.


Not for lack of love and affection, I specifically, intentionally and with full knowledge fail to provide for Child 1 in this Will.  This declaration is intentional and not made by inadvertence or mistake.

STEP 3 : Choose an Executive/Personal representative.

Always choose a person who is trustworthy, credible and responsible as your personal representative as he/she has a lot of authority over your assets after your death. 

These include : 

  • Paying your debts.
  • Paying funeral expenses.
  • Distribution of assets among beneficiaries.
  • Appointing attorneys to assist in probate.

I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint ______________________ as Personal Representative of this my Last Will and Testament. If __________________ shall fail to survive me, then I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint ______________________ as Personal Representative of this my Last Will and Testament.


    I direct that no Personal Representative or any successor or substitute Personal Representative, whether named herein or otherwise designated or appointed, shall be required to give any bond or security for the faithful performance of the duties as such Personal Representative.


    If my Personal Representative shall, in good faith, decide that there is uncertainty as to the inclusion of particular property in my gross estate for federal estate tax purposes, my Personal Representative shall exclude such property from my gross estate tax return.  

STEP 4 : Choose a Guardian for your minor children.

You can name a person who will look after the minor children after the death of the testator. This includes food, shelter, education and medical care. Guardianship of a minor terminates when the minor attains the age of 18 years. 


I appoint [name of guardian], as Guardian of the person of each minor child of mine. If [name of guardian] fails to qualify or cease to act for any reason, I appoint [name of successor guardian] as successor Guardian in [his/her] place.

STEP 5 : Signature of Testator and Witnesses.

After writing everything in your Will, you need to sign it in the presence of 2 witnesses. These witnesses are also required to sign on your Will to make it a Valid one. 

   

          This instrument, consisting of four (4) pages was signed, sealed, declared, published and acknowledged by ………………… as his Last Will and Testament, in the presence of us, the undersigned, who, at his special instance and request, do attest as witnesses, after said testator had signed his name thereto, in his presence and in the presence of each other, this ____ day of ______________________, 2021.


  

                                ______________________________

                             Witness:                                                Residing at:    

             









The foregoing instrument was sworn to, subscribed and acknowledged before me this ___ day of _________________________, by………………., the testator, Witness 1, and Witness 2, the witnesses, (    ) who are all personally known to me or (   ) who have produced ____________________ (____________ Driver License) as identification.


______________________________________

  Notary Public, State of 



STEP 6 : Store your Will in a safe place.

Once you are done with all the above formalities of making a Will, you need to store it in a safe place to avoid being lost or stolen. It is advised to give the copies of your Will to all the beneficiaries and executors so that they are aware of the fact that you have created a Will. It would be difficult to find your Will if you die suddenly without informing anyone about it. It is also possible that they will never know that you had a Will also. So, it's very important to communicate it with your heirs/beneficiaries.

STEP 7 : Review your Will periodically

Making a Will is not enough if you have not updated it after any major event that has happened in your Life. Events like marriage, divorce, births and deaths are likely to affect the decisions made previously in the Wills so it is important to update it accordingly to avoid any future stress to you and your family members.

Want to know more about Last Will and Testament requirements in California? Click here

Got Questions?

Hi, I’m Jennifer McGee.

Co-founder & Head of Legal at TrulyWill

Feel free to book a call with me to help you with your estate plan.

Book a free session
Confused about what’s best for you?
Thinking if you even need this right now?
Take the quiz
Thinking of creating a will to secure your loved ones?
Start your estate plan online
  • Resume anytime
  • Done from your home
  • Expert support when you need it
Do I need an attorney to make a Will in California?
No. Y With Trulywill, you can Create a Will which is comprehensive, state-specific and legally valid no matter how small or large your estate is. All you need to do is; follow these 3 simple steps and get your Arkansas Last Will and Testament made as per your requirement. 1. Sign in. 2. Answer a few simple questions. 3. Your Will is ready to download.
Does California consider a Handwritten Will?
Yes. California considers a Holographic/handwritten Will to be valid. A Holographic or Hand-written Will is an alternative to the Traditional Wills provided by the lawyers or the ones created online. Even if it is easier, it is not recommended by the lawyers to create a Holographic Will unless there is a necessity.
Are Oral Wills valid in California?
No. Nuncupative (oral) wills are not valid in California.
Can I revoke or change my Will in California?
Yes. There are 2 ways of revoking or changing your Will in California: 1. Make a new subsequent Will. It will revoke the prior will or its part expressly or by inconsistency. 2. Burning, torning, cancelling or destroying the old Will. This should be done with the intention of revoking it by the testator himself or any person under the testator's direction.
How much does it cost to make a Will in California?
If you are hiring an attorney for making your Will in California, it will cost you from $500 to $1000 depending upon your requirements and your location. TrulyWill offers you to create a Will which is cost-effective and much more accurate and valid than any other Last Will and Testament template which you might have come across.
Back to top