The general rule for a Last Will and Testament to be valid in California is that it must be witnessed by two disinterested individuals. A disinterested person is one who does not inherit anything under the will. It should be noted, however, that there are a few exceptions to this general rule. A holographic will is one that is written entirely in the deceased’s own handwriting. This means that “fill in the blank” forms do not count. To be valid, a holographic will must be dated and it must be signed by the deceased.  If these requirements are met, it does not have to be witnessed by two witnesses. It is important to note, however, that even though a holographic will may be valid, it may create other legal challenges. Additionally, if your loved one left behind a will that was not witnessed, it may still be possible to admit the will to probate. Of course, failure to have it properly witnessed is grounds for a will contest, but the court will allow an opportunity to prove:

  • The fact that the testator signed the will can be established by clear and convincing evidence
  • There is clear and convincing evidence that proves the testator intended for the will to constitute a Last Will and Testament
  • That because this clear and convincing evidence exists, the unwitnessed will should be treated as being valid

If you have questions regarding an unwitnessed will – whether it be to try to enforce it or to challenge it – The Legacy Lawyers can help. We will carefully walk with you every step of the way. You will never be left wondering what to do next. Plus we are here to answer your questions at no additional charge. Start today by calling to schedule your no-cost consultation: (714) 963-7543.