Who can witness a will in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A will is one of the most important legal documents you can ever create. Done right, a will can give you peace of mind knowing that your hard-earned assets will pass down to the people and causes you care about. 

For your California will to be enforceable, however, it must be valid. This means that you must be at least 18 at the time of creating the will. It also means that your will must be witnessed. But who can witness your California will?

The basics of witnessing a will in California

A witness to a will is the individual who is physically present when you are signing your will. This individual also signs the document to attest that, 1. You signed the will voluntarily, and 2. You had the testamentary capacity to create and execute the will. In California, at least two witnesses must sign the will to make it valid. 

Under the California Probate Code, any mentally competent individual can witness a will. However, it is recommended that you designate an adult to witness your will to avoid any claims of incompetence down the road. 

But can anyone witness the will?

The simple answer is, no. Per California law, an individual has to be at least 18 years to witness a will. Additionally, this individual cannot be an interested party, meaning that they cannot have financial interests in the outcome of the will. Here are some of the individuals you can call upon to witness your will:

  • Your church minister
  • Your colleague at work
  • Your childhood friend
  • Your legal representative 

Protecting your rights

A witness to your will is crucial in ensuring the validity of the document. Learning how California wills laws work can help you safeguard your rights while creating this important legal document.