California Will Requirements

There are many issues relating to what’s a valid will in California. YES, it can be handwritten!  A formal will is typed, signed and TWO witnesses.  Be careful about documents that are in the middle; i.e. typed, signed and no witnesses or a notary.  You should not notarize a will. Just two witnesses not related to you. Here are some rules from the California probate code about this.  Contact me with questions.  -John

CALIFORNIA CODES
PROBATE CODE
SECTION 6110-6113
6110.  (a) Except as provided in this part, a will shall be in
writing and satisfy the requirements of this section.
   (b) The will shall be signed by one of the following:
   (1) By the testator.
   (2) In the testator’s name by some other person in the testator’s
presence and by the testator’s direction.
   (3) By a conservator pursuant to a court order to make a will
under Section 2580.
   (c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the will shall be
witnessed by being signed, during the testator’s lifetime, by at
least two persons each of whom (A) being present at the same time,
witnessed either the signing of the will or the testator’s
acknowledgment of the signature or of the will and (B) understand
that the instrument they sign is the testator’s will.
   (2) If a will was not executed in compliance with paragraph (1),
the will shall be treated as if it was executed in compliance with
that paragraph if the proponent of the will establishes by clear and
convincing evidence that, at the time the testator signed the will,
the testator intended the will to constitute the testator’s will.

 

6111.  (a) A will that does not comply with Section 6110 is valid as
a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if the signature and
the material provisions are in the handwriting of the testator.
   (b) If a holographic will does not contain a statement as to the
date of its execution and:
   (1) If the omission results in doubt as to whether its provisions
or the inconsistent provisions of another will are controlling, the
holographic will is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency unless
the time of its execution is established to be after the date of
execution of the other will.
   (2) If it is established that the testator lacked testamentary
capacity at any time during which the will might have been executed,
the will is invalid unless it is established that it was executed at
a time when the testator had testamentary capacity.
   (c) Any statement of testamentary intent contained in a
holographic will may be set forth either in the testator’s own
handwriting or as part of a commercially printed form will.

 

6111.5.  Extrinsic evidence is admissible to determine whether a
document constitutes a will pursuant to Section 6110 or 6111, or to
determine the meaning of a will or a portion of a will if the meaning
is unclear.
6112.  (a) Any person generally competent to be a witness may act as
a witness to a will.
   (b) A will or any provision thereof is not invalid because the
will is signed by an interested witness.
   (c) Unless there are at least two other subscribing witnesses to
the will who are disinterested witnesses, the fact that the will
makes a devise to a subscribing witness creates a presumption that
the witness procured the devise by duress, menace, fraud, or undue
influence. This presumption is a presumption affecting the burden of
proof. This presumption does not apply where the witness is a person
to whom the devise is made solely in a fiduciary capacity.
   (d) If a devise made by the will to an interested witness fails
because the presumption established by subdivision (c) applies to the
devise and the witness fails to rebut the presumption, the
interested witness shall take such proportion of the devise made to
the witness in the will as does not exceed the share of the estate
which would be distributed to the witness if the will were not
established. Nothing in this subdivision affects the law that applies
where it is established that the witness procured a devise by
duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence.

 

6113.  A written will is validly executed if its execution complies
with any of the following:
   (a) The will is executed in compliance with Section 6110 or 6111
or Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 6200) (California statutory
will) or Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 6380) (Uniform
International Wills Act).
   (b) The execution of the will complies with the law at the time of
execution of the place where the will is executed.
   (c) The execution of the will complies with the law of the place
where at the time of execution or at the time of death the testator
is domiciled, has a place of abode, or is a national.