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What's the bare minimum for a legally valid will in California?

You could shop around online and find a cookie-cutter will template. However, that is a very big risk. Many estate planners have made significant mistakes when creating a "do-it-yourself" will or trust document. There are just too many things that can go wrong, and too many headaches and costly expenses that your family will have to endure if you make a mistake. It's worthwhile to rely on the experience of an estate planning attorney to ensure that you draft a sound and valid will.

First and foremost, an attorney will ensure that you'll achieve the bare minimum for your will to be valid in the state of California:

  1. You have signed it.
  2. You're 18 years of age or older.
  3. You're of sound mind and you fully understand what the document means for you and your estate.
  4. At least two witnesses were present at the time that you signed the will or saw you acknowledge that you signed the will.
  5. The will is not an "oral will." It was written, preferably typed.

A holographic (handwritten) will can still be valid as long as the signature on the will and the handwriting on it belongs to the testator. The holographic will doesn't require a witness, but it does need to show testamentary intent. Of course, no California estate planning attorney is not typically going to have you create a handwritten will.

At our law firm, we help California residents from all walks of life develop estate plans in a cost-effective manner. We will help you draft a will and create any other legal documents you require to complete your goals for your estate.

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