Are holographic wills valid in California?

Yes, holographic wills are valid in California, and they have certain requirements. Holographic wills are wills that are handwritten and signed by the testator. In California, if the dispositive provisions of the will are written in the testator’s handwriting, and signed and dated by the testator who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind, then the will is valid. There is no requirement that the will be notarized or that witnesses be present and also sign the will.

Being of sound mind means that the person has sufficient mental capacity to be able to comprehend the nature of the testamentary act. The person must also be able to comprehend and remember the nature and condition of his or her property. In addition, the person should recall and comprehend his or her relationship to his or her descendants, spouse, parents and others who may benefit under the will.

Furthermore, the testator must not be afflicted with a mental disorder marked by such symptoms as delusions or hallucinations that could cause him or her to devise property in a way that he or she would not have done but for the presence of the delusions or hallucinations.

A holographic will may be admitted to probate if someone who knew the testator and has personal knowledge of the testator’s handwriting, can testify that the will was written by the testator.

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