With respect to your Will, there are two main issues if you have just moved here to Irvine, CA:
- Whether your previous Will should be updated and
- Whether your previous Will is valid and enforceable under California law.
Thus, if you just moved here, it is probably wise to consult with experienced Irvine, California Estate Planning lawyers to determine if you need a new Will. Call us here at Guardian Litigation Group. We can help.
Concerning the first issue, the attorneys at Guardian Litigation Group suggest that Wills should be updated when major life changes occur. Certainly, moving to Irvine, CA from another State or from overseas would qualify as a “major life change.” Further, undoubtedly, many other changes have occurred in your life in addition to relocating to a new home. Some of these might require a revised Will. For example, if there is new employment, there may be new employment benefits — such as life insurance and retirement benefits — that should be included in your Will. Likewise, if you have a new or expanded family, then certainly, you would want to include those new family members in your updated Will. In addition to new assets and family members, there may be changes to old assets — such as vehicles and financial accounts – that would require a new Will. Wills need to precisely identify these types of assets. So, if you have a new car or truck and have changed bank accounts, it is time to update your Will, particularly if any such assets are specifically bequeathed under the Will.
Concerning the validity of foreign Wills in California, you should definitely have a new Will drafted and properly executed if your previous Will was executed in a foreign country. Will validity varies significantly from country to country. There is no reason to risk your Will being deemed invalid under California law.
As for Wills drafted and executed in other States, many of those Wills will be valid and enforceable in California depending on the out-of-State rules with respect to execution. Generally, to be valid in California, a Will must be:
- In writing
- Signed and dated by the person making the Will
- Where at least two witnesses watched the signing and dating of the Will
- Where the witnesses also sign the Will
- And where the witnesses sign and attest that the person making the Will had the mental capacity to sign and execute a Will
Many States other than California have similar rules for making a Will valid. However, the final rule — witness attestation to mental capacity — is often not a requirement.
That being said, typically, California courts will enforce out-of-State Wills even if the execution is not precisely what is required under California law. But the courts must go through an evaluation process. That is, typically a hearing is needed and evidence must be taken. This adds time and expense to the probate process. These are hassles and costs that can — and should — be avoided.
Contact Our Experienced Irvine, CA Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, contact the Irvine, California Estate Planning attorneys at Guardian Litigation Group. Our Mission is to provide unparalleled Estate Planning legal services for our clients. We can be reached via our contact page or by phone at (949) 444-5474. We are located in Irvine, California.