Why do I need a will?
A validly executed will acts as the decedent’s voice and can be used to ensure that the estate is left to a person or organization of their choosing. It can also ensure that a trusted person manages property left to minor children or that a personal guardian is appointed to care for them. Despite the apparent ease of writing your own will, there are many legal complexities in state and federal laws, in addition to the particulars of a person’s individual circumstance. This makes drafting your own will risky.
If a will is not properly executed because it does not confirm with state and federal laws, then a court could declare it invalid, and with it most of the provisions contained therein. There are certain requirements in California, like signing your will in front of two witnesses; having both witnesses sign at the same time as each other. There are also more complicated provisions, like whether a spouse can be left out of the will, or what happens if there is a marriage after the will was executed. Nonetheless, even if certain provisions of the will are deemed invalid, the court may still use the executor appointed therein. The executor is important because it ensures that the provisions of the will are carried out after death.