You may hear stories of people coming forth after a wealthy individual has died claiming to have helped the decedent and in return being promised his or her entire fortune. Often, the only evidence that such people can produce is a handwritten will. Such stories may be easy for you and others in Woodland Hills to dismiss, yet they prompt the question of whether or not a handwritten will is actually valid.
Handwritten wills are known legally as “holographic wills.” Only a handful of states recognize them, with California being one of them. The California Probate Code lists detailed instructions that are to be followed when validating a will. Section 8222 says that the same standard applies to holographic wills. All that is needed is for a witness (either you or, in the case of it being your own will, a family member or friend) confirming that the will was executed according to the law. This can be done by you submitting an affidavit with a picture copy of the holographic will, or attaching one to the original document itself.
If, however, your interest in an estate precludes you from being an available witness to a will, the court may verify a holographic will with the following:
As to the wisdom on relying on a holographic will, you may want to consider the skepticism that such a document might automatically prompt. This could increase the chances of such a will being contested.