You Actually Can Amend Your Will After You Die.

The decedent prepared a holographic will leaving all of his property to his wife and a dollar to his brother.  The will specified that if the decedent and his wife were to die at the same time, the decedent's property was to pass equally to two charities.  In the simultaneous death situation, all other persons were specifically disinherited.  However, the decedent's wife pre-deceased the decedent, 18 years after the decedent had executed his will.  The decedent died six years later at the age of 96 without amending his will.  The decedent did not remarry and died childless.  The children of a sister of the decedent and the charities battled over the distribution of the estate.  The court rejected its decision in a comparable 1964 case where it categorically barred extrinsic evidence concerning the decedent's intent.  The court determined that such a rule no longer conformed with "modern" probate and interpretation of wills.  The court held that such evidence is allowed if clear and convincing evidence shows that the will contains a mistake in the expression of the testator's intent at the time the will was drafted and also establishes the testator's specific intent.  The court remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of extrinsic evidence.  Estate of Duke v. Jewish National Fund, et al., No. S199435, 2015 Cal. LEXIS 5119 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Jul. 27, 2015).