Typewritten wills in California generally require the signatures of two witnesses to be found valid, but the harmless error rule can save the day. Probate Code section 6110(c)(2), as recently discussed, provides that a will not properly executed may be admitted to probate if the proponent “establishes by clear and convincing evidence that, at the time the testator signed the will, the testator intended the will to constitute the testator’s will.”

Traditionally, the creation of a valid will, in California and elsewhere, required strict adherence to certain formalities.  Estate law has been tepidly moving away from requiring compliance with those formalities, with a goal of prioritizing the intent of the person creating the will (the “Testator”).  Nine states have gone so far as to enact laws

Fort Hayes State University in Kansas, home of the Tigers, almost lost a $20 million donation because of a forged codicil (amendment) to the will of Earl Field. Earl was a World War II pilot, successful businessperson, and booster of FHSU. He died in 2013 at the age of 98. The forgery was proven only

In California, a trustor (person who creates a trust) can confer a “power of appointment” on trust beneficiaries, empowering them to designate to whom they want to give their shares of the trust.  The trustor can require trust beneficiaries to specifically exercise and refer to the power of appointment in any will they create to

Although much wealth passes today through trusts and beneficiary designations, we occasionally handle California probate disputes that turn on the validity of wills, sometimes involving high value estates.

The standard practice in California estate planning is for wills to be typewritten and prepared by attorneys, but those steps are not necessary.  A holographic, i.e., handwritten, will can have just the same effect.