Holographic Will — a will drawn up and signed by the testator oneself. A holographic will is an alternative to the testament made by the lawyer. This document doesn’t require the notarization.
An individual may create such a document when they can’t visit the jurist and draw up the will together. It happens when the testator is ill, unable to move, isolated, or abducted.
However, some problems may arise during its entry into legal force, and that’s why not all states validate the holographic will. That’s why the testator should learn the local requirements concerning such documents.
Validation of Holographic Will
The main difficulty with the holographic will is the necessity to prove that the document was created by the testator oneself. That’s why the handwritten will should correspond to the following requirements to be considered valid.
Requirements for Holographic Will:
- The document should be handwritten. The typed parts aren’t permitted. If an individual wants to make the changes in the holographic will, they should avoid the crossing out, it makes the document illegible. Instead, the testator should rewrite the will.
- The holographic will should include the date of completion and signature. If the will has no date, it is considered negligible.
- The testator should list the heirs properly. Also, they need to indicate the guardians for minor children or disabled persons, and the ones who are obligated to fulfill the last will.
- The holographic will is subjected to all requirements that refer to the standard will. It shouldn't include the clauses that contradict the law or the ordinances of several persons.
There are the things that the testator should avoid while drawing up the document. They need to remember that the holographic will won’t be exempted from inheritance tax. So it is better to place the funds in the trust. Also, the testator should avoid bequeathing the money for illegal purposes, less it can be contested.
Besides, some types of property can’t be included in the will because they are already subject to the documents regulating their inheritance in case of the owner’s death. These properties are joint tenant property, property in the living trust, money for pension, and life insurance. Their order of succession is explained in the corresponding documents.
Problems with Holographic Will
The fulfillment of the holographic may cause certain issues, that’s why not all states validate such documents. The main sticking point is the possibility to prove that the testator was of sound mind and firm memory. If it wasn’t, the will is considered ineligible because it is created by the legally incapable person.
Also, the holographic will is easy to lose, or it can’t be damaged over time. In case of loss, the will is considered ineligible, and the property is divided among the heirs according to local legislation.
The third issue is the possible discrepancy in the rules of the drafting. The notes may be uninterpretable and hard to read. If the will doesn’t include the date of compilation and the signature, and it is also impossible to establish a date of compilation, then the will is considered negligible.
Plus, the holographic will may require additional legal costs, even if the testator saves money by avoiding the juridical consultations. The heirs may need the service concerning the verification of will. Also, the heirs often face the people trying to dispute a will, and they may need money to cover the legal costs.
That’s why the lawyers advise us to draw up the will in advance together with the notary. The notary will help to draw up the document properly. Otherwise, the document will be contested. If at the time of writing the will the testator is in the hospital, the will should be certified by the chief of medicine.
How to contest the Holographic Will
To contest the holographic will the complainant should take several steps. First, they should address the lawyer who can prove that the will is negligible and find the mistakes. If there are any, the person should draw up the application and go to court.
The work with the lawyer is necessary because they can help the client to witness the property and collect the evidence of its incorrect drawing. If the testator had mental health problems at the time of creating the will, the complainant needs to visit the attending physician of the testator to prove this fact.
The complainant shouldn’t forget about the terms they can contest the will. The procedure of inheritance is described in the law. If the heir misses the time they should take the property over, it will go to the state. To prove the relationship with the testator the complainant should present the corresponding documents (marriage certificate, birth certificate, certificate of adoption, acknowledgment of paternity certificate).
The next step is to find the witnesses which can prove the relationship. It can be friends, relatives, colleagues, or other individuals. The witness testimony should be truthful because the perjury is punishable by law.
The litigation may take time, and the contestant should be ready for it. If the judgment isn’t delivered in the favor of the contestant, they can appeal against a sentence. However, firstly the contestant should ascertain that the local legislation provides such an opportunity.