Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holographic Wills - What is that?

The picture below is an example of a Holographic Will. It is literally a Will written entirely in the Testator's (person writing his/her Will) handwriting. This is obviously the way it used to be done before modern technology of the typewriter let only the computer. A Holographic Will can still be done today. Anyone can pull out a piece of paper and write down how they want their property to be distributed upon their death, and it can be a legal document.
Many people just want to do this, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are a couple of things that one needs to know if they want to do this. I just want to share four main points to remember.
First - Your Will needs to be entirely in your handwriting. There can be nothing typed or it does not meet the requirements or definition (by state law) of a holographic will.

Second - You will want to have a phrase in there that is a "catch all" phrase for the distribution of your estate. It can be something simple like, "I give all my property that I own to...". If you do not make sure to give away all your property in your Will then your Will does not meet the definition (by state law) of a valid Will and will not be admitted to probate court.

Third - You do not need any witnesses. You just need to sign your name at the end.

Fourth - You will want to "self-prove" your Will on a separate piece of paper. You can find the specifics of what you need to include on that paper from the Probate code chapter IV section 60 or here http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PB/htm/PB.IV.htm#59. If you do not do this, then when your Will is submitted to court, someone will have to come before the judge to testify that the writing is indeed your handwriting. This saves that process from happening.

Disclaimer:
The information given is not all inclusive of everything you need to know about Holographic Wills. This information does say that if you follow those four steps then you will have a valid Will. That does not mean there will be no complications in court because of the clarity of the Will, etc.

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