What is a holographic will?

Although it may sound like an item out of a science fiction book or movie, holographic wills are a real thing, and they are valid in some states throughout the U.S., including the state of California. Ironically, holographic wills are the opposite of anything involving advanced technology; holographic wills, simply put, are wills that are handwritten and hand-signed and not formal typed documents. That does not mean, however, that they are any less legal in about half the states in America.

There are varying degrees at which such wills are legal. In California, all sections of the will must be written by hand and must be signed by the writer of the will. Failing to meet all the necessary requirements might invalidate the will.

Although holographic wills are still accepted by the courts in California, they still need to contain the appropriate language necessary so that there is no confusion as to the writer's intention. If the language leaves some ambiguity or doubt, it might mean that the intended beneficiary does not receive the assets as the writer wished. Ideally, one should work with a professional to craft a will that leaves no doubt, but if that is not possible, a holographic will may still suffice.

Although we have shown how holographic wills are legal and can be used, it may still be in one's best interest to consider meeting with a lawyer familiar with estate planning and wills to make certain that your document is legally binding. Failing to have a legal will could cause significant problems to your next of kin or beneficiaries when it is time for your wishes of your will to be addressed.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Is a Handwritten Will Legally Valid" Accessed July 11, 2017

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