A myth exists that a will which is not computer-generated and on legal paper cannot be valid. Holographic, or handwritten wills, however, can be valid documents provided that they meet certain requirements. It is important to note that holographic wills are often contested, and you may wish to save your heirs time and trouble later by working with a College Station Attorney for Wills to create a will that is unlikely to be questioned.
What Exactly Is a Holographic Will?
As suggested above, a holographic will is simply one which has been written out rather than scripted with legal terminology and typed. Not all states recognize the validity of these types of wills, though Texas does. In essence, you can take pen to paper and write out your wishes without even using witnesses and still have a legal document. While one may wonder about the usefulness of such a will, consider a soldier on the front lines who wishes to write out his wishes for distribution of his property, or an elderly person who has never learned to type or use a computer.
What Elements Are Necessary to Make a Holographic Will Valid?
As a College Station Attorney for Wills will tell you, certain elements are required to render a holographic will valid:
- The will must be completely in the testator's handwriting. An exception to this is if the signing of the will is witnessed by two individuals who also sign the will in the presence of each other and the testator.
- The will must be signed and dated by the testator.
- The testator must have testamentary competence at the time the will is signed.
- The testator must not have been coerced into writing or signing the will.
- The will is not superseded by a later one.
Why Are Holographic Wills often Challenged?
The validity of a holographic will is often legally questioned. This is in part because many people do not realize that a handwritten will can be valid, but it also reflects the fact that handwritten wills are more difficult to verify in probate court. The fact that witnesses were not used in the will's execution contribute to this issue, for then the question arises as to whether the document was actually written by the testator, and whether he was coerced. Challengers to a holographic will may hire handwriting experts. Unfortunately, such a challenge often pulls families apart as they argue.
If You Need Assistance with a Will or other Probate Matter