What is a Holographic Will and Are They Legal in Washington?

Holographic Wills

Holographic Wills (are written in the testator’s handwriting) are legal in some states, but not the State of Washington. Partly because proving their validity can be difficult and some states require the testimony of a handwriting expert. Another issue with Holographic Wills is the ambiguity they create, which may cause confusion for others.

Holographic Wills are sometimes used by people who are in imminent danger of dying or are unable to write their own Will. They are also useful for people who have lost their Last Will and Testament or those who simply want to change it. For example, Holographic Wills are common among soldiers on the battlefield, people who are lost in the wilderness, and people who are about to die in an airplane crash. However, if you are considering Holographic Wills, you should consult with a lawyer who can explain the laws and requirements of Holographic Wills because they vary from state to state.

Holographic Wills can be invalidated if the document does not have a date and signature, or if the Will is signed by someone other than the testator. Oftentimes, people fail to name an executor, which is necessary to oversee the Will’s proper execution. In such cases, the court will appoint an administrator, who may not be the testator’s chosen executor.

Holographic Wills are legally valid in certain states, including New York and Maryland. However, they are invalid in New York state unless the testator was active in the military during the time of writing his Will. Washington doesn’t recognize Holographic, or handwritten Wills, signed only by the testator.  A valid will in Washington needs to be signed by the testator in the presence of two disinterested witnesses who also sign. The same is true of any changes that are later made to a will.  An invalid will is the same as having no will at all, so it’s very important to make sure that your will complies with all the formalities. Holographic Wills are also difficult to prove if the Will is unclear or contains errors. This could lead to confusion and delays for loved ones. The will may also be challenged if the testator did not write it properly or had no witnesses. In addition, some states (such as Washington) do not accept Holographic Wills.

In the case of Holographic Wills, the testator should also name the guardians of any minor children. This is especially important if both parents pass away before the children reach adulthood. However, if the testator fails to name a guardian, the court will appoint one for the children. This person is usually the closest living relative to the child.

In the event that a Holographic Will is found to be invalid, it will likely be difficult to prove its validity in a probate court. However, there are ways to prove that a Holographic Will is valid by using a witness. In most cases, a witness will testify that the person signing the Will understood what he was doing and was not under any influence at the time of signing.

Some states are recognizing Holographic Wills as valid. In Texas, a valid handwritten will must be entirely in the person’s handwriting. No one else can write part of the will in his or her absence. It can be written in print or cursive, but must be legible.

If you have any question about Holographic Wills or need help writing your own will, contact the experts at Orbit Wills today.

Published 09/20/2022.