Ensuring a Deathbed Will Is Valid

California law does not make any special exceptions for deathbed wills. If the document is written in accordance with the state’s probate code, it will be considered valid.

In California, a will must be:

  • Written, rather than videotaped or recorded
  • Made by someone of sound mind—someone who understands that they are writing a will and can appreciate the practical effects of their estate planning decisions 
  • Signed by the testator
  • Attested by at least two disinterested witnesses, unless the will was written entirely in the testator’s own handwriting 

The Potential Problems With Deathbed Wills

While a will can be legally written or revised when the testator is near death, delaying the formation of an effective estate plan could have unexpected and potentially catastrophic consequences. For example:

  • The will might not meet the Golden State’s legal requirements for a valid will.
  • The will could be contested by a creditor or beneficiary, who may claim that the testator was influenced or pressured into making last-minute changes by a third party.
  • The will could conflict with other estate planning provisions.

Contact a CA Estate Planning Attorney Today

The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, Inc. has decades of experience helping Californians of all backgrounds plan their estates. Please send us a message online, or call us at 1-800-756-5596 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.


Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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