Are You Wondering if There is More Than One Type of Will in California?
Generally, there are two types of California wills:
- A more-formal typed will; and
- A holographic will.
More-Formal Typed Will
The more formal will is typed so all you need to do is sign. That said, it’s critical that when you sign your signing is properly witnessed. In other words, there needs to be two other people present, and it’s much better if they are not related to you or named in the will.
Those people need to watch you sign the will and then each of them also needs to sign the will. All three of you need to be present for this signing.
This witnessing is to provide verification that you actually signed the will and understood that you were signing it.
Holographic (Hand-Written) Will
The other general type of will is a holographic will, or a hand-written will. Your handwriting verifies that you actually signed this type of will. All of the important terms of the holographic will need to be in your handwriting, and you need to sign it. No witnesses are required.
Holographic wills can create problems. They are drafted by lay people who don’t have a lot of experience with this type of thing. Thus, holographic wills often are vague, ambiguous, and susceptible to multiple interpretations.
If your car stalls on the railroad tracks, a freight train is barreling down on you, you can’t get out of your car, and you have no will or trust, then that’s a good time to quickly write out your holographic will. (And then keep trying the door or maybe break a window and escape!) Otherwise, go to an experienced attorney who can draft documents for you that likely will work much better.
A Notary Public Is Not Needed for a Will
And by the way, a notary public does not need to acknowledge the signing of a will to make a will valid in California. Plenty of wills are signed by a notary public. It doesn’t hurt, but it also doesn’t help.