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Can I use e-signatures to sign a living will in California?

Pasadena, CA |

I'm interested in storing and making changes to my living will electronically. Are eSignatures legal for Living Wills in California?

Attorney Answers 3


The court's are continually changing to adopt to new technology - e-signatures being one of them. As regards changes to you will, your signature needs to be "witnessed" properly to be effective and should be notarized. It would be impossible to verify the authenticity of your e-signature in that circumstance.

Print out your living will. Have it properly witnessed and notarized. Scan the new document and save it electronically.

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Mary Lynn Symons

Mary Lynn Symons


Wills do not need to be notarized in california.

Mary Lynn Symons

Mary Lynn Symons


I now see that you reference a living will. If you mean a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, it can be witnessed or notarized. I agree with the advice to actually print out the document and then sign it.


To update a will in California, you can amend it with a codicil. In California, a codicils must be added separately to the original. So if you write on the will, it can possibly invalidate the will. A codicil (or a will/trust_must be signed, dated and witnessed by two non-interested parties (i.e. no beneficiaries) for it to be legal in California.

Read more: How to Update a Personal Will in California |

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In brief, no. Electronic signatures are not acceptable for testamentary documents, including wills and trusts. What do you mean by changes to your living will electronically? A "living will" is actually a trust, not a will, as the term is commonly used.

An amendment and/or restatement of a trust in CA should be notarized if it concerns any real property. A will should only be witnessed, not notarized. I urge you to consult legal counsel to amend your will by codicil, draft a new will, or amend and restate your trust.

I have never seen a self-drafted testamentary document, amended or otherwise, that accomplished the intended purpose and which did not result in costly litigation if there was enough money involved.

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