What is a Holographic Will and are Holographic Wills Legal in California?

This article will explain some basic principles relating to holographic wills in California.  What is a holographic will?

The definition of a holographic will found at is a holographic will is a will that is handwritten, dated and signed by the person writing the will.  See https://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/Common_Words_Probate_Cases.pdf

Where can I find the law relating to holographic wills in California?


CA Prob Code § 6111 (2017) contains the black letter law relating to holographic wills.  It can be found here:  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=6111.&lawCode=PROB#:~:text=%29%206111.%20%28a%29%20A%20will%20that%20does%20not,as%20to%20the%20date%20of%20its%20execution%20and%3A

What does Section 6111 say?

(a) A will that does not comply with Section 6110 is valid as a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if the signature and the material provisions are in the handwriting of the testator.

(b) If a holographic will does not contain a statement as to the date of its execution and:

(1) If the omission results in doubt as to whether its provisions or the inconsistent provisions of another will are controlling, the holographic will is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency unless the time of its execution is established to be after the date of execution of the other will.

(2) If it is established that the testator lacked testamentary capacity at any time during which the will might have been executed, the will is invalid unless it is established that it was executed at a time when the testator had testamentary capacity.

(c) Any statement of testamentary intent contained in a holographic will may be set forth either in the testator’s own handwriting or as part of a commercially printed form will.

What kind of attorney can help me with a loved one’s holographic will?


An attorney who has experience in estate planning law can help you with the probate process and understanding whether a holographic will is enforceable.

At the Law Office of David Knecht, at 707-451-4502, we have extensive experience with estate planning in California and can answer your questions relating to a holographic will.