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Does California recognize holographic wills?

A will can be an important document to include in one's estate plan. Through it a person can direct where they want items of their property to be distributed, as well as assign individuals to be caretakers of their children and dependents. To create a valid will, an Encino resident must be an adult, be of sound mind, and must have two individuals witness the signing.

Not everyone who wants a will may be able to achieve these requirements before they pass on. A person with limited access to others may be on their own to prepare a document that expresses their testamentary intent. As such, the state recognizes holographic wills in limited circumstances. A holographic will is a handwritten will and, generally, these forms of wills do not have to be acknowledged by witnesses.

In order for a holographic will to be valid, it must be signed by the will's creator. It must also demonstrate the intent of the creator to offer bequests to others through the will; without evidence of testamentary intent, a holographic will may fail to stand up to review and may not be honored when the decedent's estate goes through probate.

California residents who wish to create wills and other estate planning documents are encouraged to seek legal help with the drafting and execution of these important testamentary tools. Although holographic wills may be acceptable in some circumstances in the courts of the state, more formal documents may serve the interests of individuals. An estate planning attorney can provide their clients with the best information and legal input on how to achieve their estate planning goals.

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