What Does Prove the Will Mean Under California Probate?

Scott Grossman

Scott Grossman

- Attorney

Scott Grossman is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. He represents clients in cases throughout California.


Proving the existence of a will determines how California probate proceeds. Many people want to talk about and write down how they want their assets distributed after they pass. However, a will must be proven or self-proving to be valid.

How Do You Prove the Will?

  • Either the decedent signed it in front of witnesses, declaring that it was his or her Will, or
  • The witnesses understood that it was his or her Will.

This is accomplished by having the witnesses sign a formal declaration to this effect. Consequently, this is attached to the will and stamped by the court’s clerk.

Let’s suppose the decedent made a signed and handwritten will. Someone familiar with the decedent’s handwriting makes and signs a declaration confirming the will. Another type of will is a commercially printed will-form, called holographic wills.. These contain a statement of testamentary intent with the decedent’s own handwriting and signature.  

Some documents are self-proving. This means that the court does not require a written confirmation by someone who knows the decedent’s handwriting. There is one way to accept a self-proving will.  It must contain a self-proving clause that is signed by the witnesses. Additionally, the clause must be signed under penalty of perjury, and the clause has to declare the document was executed in accordance with California law. Moreover, if someone questions the validity of the will, the court may request additional evidence.

Do you still have questions in regards to proving a will? We know this process can be confusing and difficult. Talk to San Diego estate planning and probate attorney Scott Grossman about your situation and the questions you have. Call our lawyers at (951) 683-3704 or (888) 443-6590 for your FREE 30-minute telephone consultation. Also, order our FREE book The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration.



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