How to Make a Will in California for Free

By Julia Margaret
An attorney, you, something, the free will document

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Drafting a simple will through an attorney costs hundreds of dollars. Under California Probate Code, Section 6240, state citizens may draft a will for free. California residents without sizable and complicated estates should take advantage of this free service.

Before writing your will, select someone to act as your personal representative or executor. This person takes charge of your estate after you die. It should be someone you trust completely and someone you would expect to still be around after your death. Ask the individual if they are willing to fulfill the role. Appointing someone without their permission could result in a disastrous situation. Also select at least one other person to act as executor in the event your first choice is not available at that time. Consult with this person for permission before appointing them as well.

Download the statutory will from The State Bar of California website; you can find it under the Public Services section. Read it carefully. If there is anything you don't understand, consult an attorney.

Fill in the blanks carefully. Do not add any words other than in the blanks or cross out any words.

Choose two adult witnesses who are not receiving assets under the will. Read the notice at the end of the will along with the witnesses and follow the instructions. Date and sign the will with the witnesses.

Take the will to your bank and have it notarized. Many banks notarize documents without any charge to their customers.

Give a copy of the will to your executor. You need not reveal to anyone other than the executor the contents of the will. However, do let close family members and friends know where to find the will.

Update your will as needed. At the same time, check with the executors to make sure they are still willing and able to carry out the duties.

Keep an updated list of all your assets such as stocks and bonds, real estate, personal property, bank accounts, etc. Let your executor and family members know where to find it.

About the Author

Julia Margaret writes for various online publications, specializing in gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from California State University, Northridge, and studied horticulture at UCLA Extension. Margaret also holds a Master of Arts in special education.

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