What Are the Basic Requirements for a Valid Will in California?

A Last Will and Testament may be one of the most important documents created to preserve your goals after death. Without one, your preferences of how your money, property and personal items are given away will be ignored.  Instead, your estate is left to the laws of the State of California.  Often, this results in often undesirable divisions.   


Verbal requests aren’t enough either. Even if you verbally express certain instructions for your estate prior to your passing, the distribution will end up being controlled by state law. If you’re ready to draft up your Last Will and Testament, there are certain legal expectations for a valid Will in California to keep in mind.


Basic Conditions for a Valid Will in California

To be considered a valid Will in California, your Will should be in typed or printed form and be signed by the person making the Will, otherwise known as the “testator.” Additionally, your Will must have the signatures of two witnesses who were present to observe the document execution and signatures from all parties. In California, the testator may have another person sign for them if physically unable to do so. 


Ensure that Witnesses are “Disinterested”

While a testator may prove incompetent to sign their Will, witnesses are required to be generally competent. They’re also commonly disconnected from the testator and their Will, otherwise known as a “disinterested party.”  Although an interested party such as a beneficiary could serve as a witness without repercussions, friction can arise if the Will leaves a gift to an interested witness. In many cases, it brings upon a presumption that the witness used some form of duress, fraud, or influence to get the gift. Ensure that your two witnesses are generally competent, and consider seeking out disinterested witnesses to ensure no question of malice arises down the line.


Submit a Self-Proving Affidavit for a Valid Will in California 

If no one challenges the authenticity of your Will, it can be probated in a much quicker manner through a self-proving affidavit. To do this, involved witnesses will have to confirm the Will’s authenticity in an affidavit with a notary and receive a notary stamp for it. Afterward, the affidavit is either included in the Will or simply attached to it. There’s also a chance during the probate process that witnesses will need to provide a deposition to prove such authenticity if there are no witnesses in the surrounding county.


For further assistance navigating the trust and probate process, be sure to contact a skilled estate attorney for an insightful consultation. We can especially assist with trust and probate disputes such as beneficiary rights, trustee duties, and trust and will objections. 


Contact Gokal Law

Do you have a probate court case on your hands? Ensure that your petition gets filed by contacting Abbas Gokal of Gokal Law Group, Inc. Our team specializes in litigation and counseling related to trust and probate law and will diligently represent you in the courts. In short, we will give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.


Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.


Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *