4580 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Suite 250 Westlake Village, CA 91362

What Is Required for a Will to be Valid under California Law?

Signing Last Will and Testament document


Your last will and testament is very important to ensure your assets are bequeathed as you wish. Every state has its own estate and trust laws, and California is no different. If you live in California, here are a few things you should know about creating a will:

The Last Will and Testament Must Be in Writing: California law states that a will must be in writing in order for it to be valid. It can either be handwritten or typed depending on the preference of the testator (the person creating the will). However, it’s recommended to create a new will if any changes are necessary as any handwritten changes could result in a legal challenge. The will must be signed and dated by the testator, and the testator should be of sound mind when signing the will.

The Last Will and Testament Must Also Be Signed by Witnesses: In order for a last will and testament to be legal in California, at least two witnesses must be present to see the will being signed by the testator or acknowledging the signature. The two witnesses must also sign an affidavit confirming that the testator was of sound mind when he or she signed the will.

The Last Will and Testament Must Declare Beneficiaries: In California, a testator can gift assets to any person, business, or organization he or she so desires. The will should state the asset and who will be receiving it in order to be considered valid in probate.

While you are not required to create a will, it is a good idea to do so. You can not only ensure your assets are divided as you wish, you can name an executor to carry out your wishes and reduce the likelihood that your heirs will go through a lengthy and expensive probate.

However, in order to make sure you are following California estate laws and the will is not challenged in court or deemed invalid, we would highly encourage you to hire estate and trust attorneys in Los Angeles. Our experienced estate attorneys can assist you with the preparation of a will or trust with your family’s interests in mind first.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a trust attorney in Los Angeles.