In a case that illustrates the kind of problems California attorneys who provide estate planning services deal with regularly, a judge ruled that their mother's adoption severed three siblings' legal connection to their aunt, which caused them to be denied any part of the aunt's estate. The Virginia probate decision frustrated the siblings, who were already in the process of dividing up their aunt's belongings. However, the adoption eliminated the siblings' legal rights, even though it happened when their mother was already 53.
A recent California case highlights the problems that may result when a person decides to draft a will unassisted. A mother with two children and many friends decided she could do just fine writing her own will, documenting her wishes for distributing her assets and personal property on her death. So, she used her home computer to do just that. Once completed, she printed it out and decided a notary public would trump having mere witnesses acknowledge her signature on the will.