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A California Last Will and Testament is the cornerstone of an effective estate plan, and there are some considerations that should be kept in mind to ensure the validity of a California will:

Keep your will up to date. Your life circumstances have probably changed since you first drafted your Last Will and Testament. Also be sure to consult with your estate planning attorney regularly to make sure your document reflects changes to estate tax and other laws.

Make sure at least a few different people in your family know where to find your will when you die. Do not make the common mistake of tucking your Last Will and Testament away in a safe deposit box. Bank safety deposit boxes can be sealed upon your death, and then no one will have the access necessary to gather the documents they will need to settle your estate.

Choose your executor/personal representative with care. It is wise to choose someone who is not likely to die before you. It is also best to choose someone who is responsible, honest and fair. Be sure to ask him or her to be your executer before you die; do not assume that they want the title. If you expect your last wishes to be controversial, consider choosing an impartial professional that is not a family member or close friend. Lastly, it is imperative that you have a back-up executor/personal representative in case your first choice in unavailable at the time of your death, as an executor/personal representative must meet a standard set by California probate laws to be appointed by the court.

Don’t contradict yourself. To avoid legal battles, make sure your Last Will and Testament does not contradict the beneficiaries named on your retirement fund or other payable-on-death accounts.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.