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Can You Write Your Own Will In Pasadena, California?

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

A Guide To Statutory And Holographic Wills In California

A simple Will is an example of something you can do without the assistance of a lawyer. Don't confuse this with a Trust or an overall estate plan; those require a deeper understanding of Trust and Will law, tax law, property transfers, and practical expertise in avoiding tragedy.


It's not a problem if you only want a simple Will that leaves your possessions to your children or named heirs. Here's a quick guide to drafting your own Will, as often handled by our Pasadena Estate Administration Attorneys in California.


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2 Types Of Wills You Can Write By Yourself


Fortunately, a will is put to paper doesn't really matter. This means it can be typed or handwritten, depending on the necessity and the available resources you have at the time of its writing.

The two ways to do so are the following:


1. Statutory Will

If you want to use the California statutory Will (or any other typed Will instead of a handwritten one), you must sign it in front of two witnesses, and the two witnesses must likewise sign.


In California, a written (or computer-generated) Will not be admitted to probate unless two people witness it. There are a few exceptions, but it generally places the burden on the heirs to prove the validity of the Will. So again, the best way is to ask two witnesses to avoid problems in the future.


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Also, notarizing a Will has no bearing on its validity. All that is required is for two witnesses to sign the Will. Therefore, a notarized Will is useless, so save your money and forego the notary.


That said, if you're confused about how to fill up the form, you might want to consult with a Pasadena Estate Lawyer. An attorney can help you account for your estate and explain the legal ins and outs of your last will and testament.

2. Holographic Wills


You can also choose to write your Will by hand. Even if there are no witnesses, a Will written in the handwriting of a deceased is a legal Will.


This is known as a holographic Will. It can be readily admitted to probate if people can read your handwriting. Even if it isn't required, you could still have two witnesses sign a holographic Will. Remember, you want to encounter the least problems in the future as possible—so even if you have to write down your own will, it doesn't hurt to have two witnesses sign it.


Because holographic wills are written in the decedent's own handwriting, California law presumes validity. As a California citizen, consider the following when drafting a holographic will:

  • There are no witnesses required.

  • A holographic Will can be written on any piece of paper, napkin, ripped page from a notebook, receipt, and so on.

  • Almost anything can be used to draft your Last Will and Testament. You should, of course, make it as legible and understandable as possible.

The main drawback to holographic Wills is that they can be challenging to read or understand. So, make sure you write with decent handwriting and clear wording.


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When drafting a holographic will, you need to be specific about how your estate should be managed. You also must ensure that administration, inheritance, and ownership laws are in place. For example, you might want something done to your estate, but the request doesn't have clear legal grounds to be executed appropriately.


That said, you can also consult with a Pasadena Estate Planning Attorney to ensure you nail the proper wording that's both executable and legal.

Find A California Estate Lawyer in Pasadena

1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Association Certified Lawyer Referral Service that can refer you to an Estate Lawyer that's the best fit to handle your unique case. You can contact us through our 24/7 live chat (or fulfill our case submission form) for a FREE INITIAL REVIEW.


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