A last will and testament can be composed in different forms. It may be created as a printed form. Some wills, if spoken orally, can be recognized by a California court as legal. There are also wills that are completely handwritten by the testor. These handwritten wills are also known as holographic wills. Provided that a handwritten will meets certain standards, the state of California will consider one to be valid.
According to California Section 6110, a handwritten will may be recognized as a legitimate will if the material provisions of the will are handwritten by the testor and that the will contains the signature of the testor. However, a holographic will does not require witnesses to be present as you sign it. It is sufficient for a California resident to write the will and sign it.
There are still ways that a court may invalidate a holographic will if you are not careful. The will must contain a date of execution. Without it, there could be conflict if the testor had made out another will at any time. A court may decide that the other will takes precedence unless it can be proven that the handwritten will had been composed at a time after the other will.
A handwritten will can also be invalidated if the person writing it was found to lack testamentary capacity. A lack of testamentary capacity means the individual was not able to legally write the will in the first place. The testor may not have been of legal age to write the will. More commonly, wills are challenged because a party claims that the testor was mentally incapacitated while writing the will.
This article is written to educate readers on the topic of wills. Do not interpret the information presented as legal advice.