Holographic Will Texas
A handwritten Will is a legitimate document that has the same legal implications as a typewritten Will. Just like a formal typewritten Will, a handwritten Wills remains effective until the testator revokes it. In fact, you can handwrite a Will on the wall and it will still go through probate successfully as long as it is your handwriting. A handwritten will does not have to be signed by witnesses, but you and two other witnesses have to sign a typewritten Will. A handwritten Will is also called a holographic will.
What Are The Requirements Of A Handwritten Will
A holographic or handwritten Will must be written completely in the handwriting of the person making the Will (the testator). The person making the Will (testator) must sign the Will and should date it. It doesn’t matter what stationery a testator uses to write the Will and there is no requirement for a holographic Will to be signed by witnesses. But for the Will to be valid the testator must have testamentary capacity and testamentary intent when making the Will. That means that the testator must be of sound mind (testamentary capacity) and must state who gets what (testamentary intent) when making the Will.
A Holographic Will Can Be Tricky
The perils of a holographic Will are more pronounced when the person making the Will has significant property. For example, any ambiguous text about how certain assets are to be distributed can actually lead to a court having to decide what the testator meant. Some other mistakes that a testator may make when writing a Will include:
- Not naming the executor for their estate in their Will
- Not considering alternate scenarios such as their children dying before they die
- Naming someone with a terrible relationship with beneficiaries as executor
- Including things you do not own in the will
- Writing the Will using illegible handwriting that no one can read
Illegible handwriting is actually one reason why handwritten Wills can be easily challenged.
Related Estate Planning Topics
Why Contesting A Holographic Will Is Easy
Handwritten Wills are easy to contest because unlike typewritten Wills, the burden of proof on the validity of the handwritten Will, rests on the testator or people that wish to actuate the Will on the testator’s behalf. The testator or the people that wish to actuate the Will need to prove that the handwriting used to draft the Will is actually the testator’s handwriting. Even if you successfully prove that that is the testator’s handwriting, you may still have to deal with any ambiguous statements in the Will. An experienced Texas lawyer can help you draft a formal Will so that you can avoid these issues entirely.
What Is A Formal Will?
A formal Will is a typewritten Will that has the signatures of the testator and that of two witnesses. The testator must sign a formal Will in the presence of two people over the age of 14. The two witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the testator. A lawyer should draft your formal will to avoid mistakes that would make the Will invalid.