What happens if I create a will or living trust in Anaheim without witnesses present?

In California, creating a valid living trust does not require that witnesses also sign the instrument. Two individuals, however, should witness a will. When a will is not witnessed, additional information must be provided to the probate court in order for the will to be approved and allowed. This information must show the following, clearly and convincingly:

  • The will is signed by the testator.
  • The court is satisfied that the testator knew and approved of the contents of the will.
  • The court is satisfied that the testator intended the will to have testamentary effect.
  • The intent of the testator is reflected within the document itself.

Therefore, a living trust created in Anaheim that was not witnessed is not invalid, if that was the only subject of the attack. A will, while it should have witnesses for ease of estate administration, can still be used and admitted for approval by the probate court, even if the testator’s signature was not witnessed. A knowledgeable attorney can help you to review the facts and circumstances surrounding the signing of these instruments to determine whether their creation was ineffective. 

To learn more about living trusts as part of the creation of an overall estate plan, view our free guide, Understanding the Revocable Living Trust - In Language that Anyone Can Understand in 8 Minutes. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in Anaheim today for more information. We can be reached at (714) 459-5481, and we are happy to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate plan.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm