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California Wills Laws

Laws governing the drafting, signing, and enforcement of wills are fairly similar among U.S. states. As in many other states, California's wills laws require the testator (the person writing the will) to be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. But unlike some other state laws, California does not recognize oral (or "nuncupative") wills. Holographic wills, which are handwritten, are regognized by the state but have special requirements.

Highlights of California's wills laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Making a Will and Revoking, Challenging, or Changing a Will sections to learn more.

Code Section Prob. §§6100, et seq.
Age of Testator 18 years or older and of sound mind
Number of Witnesses At least 2 persons present at the same time, witnessing either signing of will or testator's acknowledgment and must understand that it is testator's will.
Nuncupative (Oral Wills) Not recognized
Holographic Wills Valid if signature and material provisions are in handwriting of testator; does not need witnesses; must show testamentary intent which can be shown by extrinsic evidence.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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