Is Your Holographic Will Perfectly Legal?

Law Blog

Most people feel that a last will and testament is far too important a document to complete on their own and seek help from an attorney. Some independent souls, however, consider the creation of a will to be a personal and private act. Surprisingly, there is a smattering of states that don't recognize hand-written wills, also known as holographic wills, but the remainder of states do. There are, though, several rules that must be followed when creating your own will, or it could be ruled invalid. Read on to find out more.

Probate Court Rules and Clearing Up Some Misinformation

Each state oversees its own probate process, and it's up to each county within the state to enforce and carry out the rules. The issue of probating wills can make for some confusion, unfortunately. Nearly everyone that passes away will have their estate probated. Only those whose income falls below certain levels can avoid probate court entirely. You can keep some, or most, of your property out of the probate process, but almost no one can avoid probate entirely. That being said, some people think that if they don't have a will, it makes things easier on their loved ones since that might mean no probate. It's important to note that having a will or not having a will has no effect on whether or not the estate of the deceased must be probated. In addition, having a hand-written will won't keep the estate out of probate either.

Making a Holographic Will Valid

Holographic wills, along with wills of all types, have to conform to certain standards, and those standards can vary by the state. In general, though, the following rules apply in regard to holographic wills:

  1. Since a holographic will is the same thing as a hand-written will, it must be just that. Most people have seen the so-called "will kits" available online or in bookstores where the testator just fills in the blanks. Unfortunately, those are not generally legal because they are not entirely hand-written. You cannot use a hybrid of computer-generated and hand-written contents for a will. What might be acceptable is when the testator prints out the blank forms and fills the information in by hand.
  2. In most cases, holographic wills don't require witnesses. The validity of the testator's signature, however, becomes more important as a result. During the probate process, the signature is often verified using at least one person and perhaps more.

While the above are common rules in many states, holographic wills can be ruled invalid even if they meet those guidelines. The problem with holographic wills is that they often contain provisions, conditions, and bequests that are not legal in the state. To help ensure that your will is legal and won't cause your loved ones undue stress, allow a probate lawyer to review your will at your earliest convenience.


14 October 2019

Choosing To Fight

Although I am far from perfect, I have focused on abiding by the local laws for the vast majority of my life. Unfortunately, about five years ago, I realized that I was being accused of a crime that I didn't commit. I thought about letting the trial run its course, but then I realized that fighting would be important to ensure my future. I teamed up with a great lawyer, and things became much easier overnight. My legal counsel told me what to do and what to avoid, and he was able to prove the facts in a court of law. This blog is all about choosing to fight charges.