If you live in California and intend to leave behind a substantial gift to anyone who is not a relative who has assisted you with health care or personal care, you should see an attorney first. You are eligible to leave behind such a gift, but you might need to visit with your attorney in order to sign a statement.
This statement is important for verifying that you are acting freely and are not being unduly influenced by the person who has been providing you with care.
If you fail to take this necessary step, the gift could be classified as void, meaning that your intended recipient will not get it. California laws are in place that are designed to protect people from fraudulent caregivers who take advantage of the people who rely on them.
The broad terms of this law mean that you could accidentally invalidate otherwise reasonable gifts that you did intend to make. This law could come into play if you are above age 65 and intend to leave a gift of over $5000. That amount could be less if your overall estate is worth less than $150,000.
The law applies if you intend to leave behind such a gift to a non-relative who helps you without any pay, if you have recently started this relationship or a non-relative that you pay to help you. Make sure that you speak with your estate planning or elder law attorney about a certificate of independent review.
This can be important or terrifying that you are choosing to make this gift of your own free will and have not been inappropriately influenced into making it because of the caregiver pushing you to make that decision.