Can a Will Be Handwritten?

Can a Will Be Handwritten?

Putting a will together is an important step that everyone should take at some point in their lives. However, creating a will is an involved process. It is advisable to have an attorney, like an estate planning lawyer in Philadelphia, PA, help you. If your estate is on the small side, you may be wondering if you can just throw a handwritten will together yourself. This would make the process much easier after all. This guide will answer this question, as well as inform you about the requirements for making a will.

Holographic Wills

The type of will this question considers is a real thing. It is called a holographic will. Holographic wills are simpler and usually handwritten. However, it is not always an option to create a holographic will. Only 27 of the 50 US states allow it, which are listed here:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

If you do not live in one of these states, you must follow the normal procedure of creating a will. While holographic wills are more convenient to create, they come with some downsides too. When a holographic will is executed by a court, the process is usually much longer. The court scrutinizes every aspect carefully since there are fewer security measures in place.

Making a Will Legal

So what makes a will legal and how is the legal process different for a holographic will? A normal will is made legal when it has the signatures of two witnesses and the signature and date of the estate owner. Keep in mind that the laws may vary slightly in your state, meaning there may be other requirements for your will to be legal. Generally, however, these are the only two requirements. The witnesses also cannot be anyone who benefits from the will.

A holographic will does not need to have any witnesses. This is the primary difference between a holographic will and a normal one, but it makes it much easier to piece it together yourself. Again, it is highly recommended that you speak with or hire an estate planning attorney to help you create your will. Additionally, a holographic will is only a good idea if your estate is quite small. If you have a large or average-sized estate, having a holographic will is likely to cause some problems when it is executed.

Thank you to Klenk Law for their insight into estate planning.