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What is a will?

Will (noun):

A legal document which is also called a Last Will and Testament. It communicates a person’s final wishes, including what happens to their belongings and specifies beneficiaries of their estate.

If your loved one has died and has left a will, it determines who gets their property. If you would like to legally transfer property then the only way to do so is by obtaining an order issued by the probate court. So, if there is a will then a probate is required.

Codicil (noun):

A Testamentary document that serves to make a small change to a previously executed Will. This amendment can be an addition or a change to some part of the Will.

What is a Will?

You would think this is a simple question.  The California Probate Code defines will as follows: “Will” includes codicil and any testamentary instrument which merely appoints an executor or appoints an executor or revokes or revises another will.  That doesn’t exactly answer the question does it?

Here’s a simple definition: a written or typed document that is signed by the testator (the person who is passed away and is trying to pass property via the writing) which states who will inherit his or her property in the amount or percentage specified. A will can also be called a last will and testament. It is a considered an instrument that passes property to the person that the owner wanted to have it. It can say who can have what things as well as who cannot have things. Wills have to be created by a person of their own free choice without pressure. They have to have capacity to sign a will, meaning that they have to understand what they are doing.What is a Will

There are different kinds of wills.

We have written articles explaining these as well as glossary terms.

Holographic Will

Pour-over Will

Statutory Will

Attested Will

The 4 Types Of Wills: Admitting A Will To Probate In California

We have articles that explain what undue influence and lack of capacity are click the links below to learn more about these topics.

California Will Contest Or Trust Contest Based On Mental Incapacity

California Will Contest Or Trust Contest Based On Undue Influence

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman


The Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307

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