A holographic will is a will that has been handwritten by the testator, or the person giving the last will and testament. These documents are handwritten in their entirety, and they differ from traditional wills in the fact that a lawyer did not prepare it.
There might be questions as to the validity of a holographic will. Holographic wills are valid in the state of California as long as they meet a few conditions.
What does a holographic will need to be valid?
A handwritten will can bring up several concerns when estate planning, including the legitimacy of the document. If holographic wills didn’t need to meet certain requirements to be valid, it would be all too easy to create fraudulent wills for the sake of profit. In the state of California, handwritten wills are valid under a few conditions:
- The will is signed by the testator.
- All materials provisions such as name, residence, intent, etc. are in order.
- It can be proved that the testator had full mental capacity to write a will.
If a holographic will doesn’t have all of the above, or there’s any doubt as to the testator’s mental health during the period they wrote the will, it could be contested. Unlike traditional wills, a holographic one does not need to be witnessed or notarized, but these things might help.
How do you create a holographic will?
The process of creating a holographic will is very much the same as any standard legal process for creating a traditional will. You will want to make sure you have all of your assets in order and a full understanding of what you’re doing.
It can be intimidating to create any kind of estate document. Testators should reach out to their attorney with questions regarding their will or another estate planning tool.