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The problems with a holographic will

A holographic will is fairly simple. You create the document by writing it out yourself. You then sign it to show that you stand by what it says and that it reflects your wishes.

Though it is simple and that may be tempting, there are some serious problems with drafting a holographic will, and you need to consider them carefully. Remember, when determining if the will is valid, the court has to find evidence that:

  • You actually wrote the will
  • You had the mental capacity to do so at the time that you wrote it
  • The will accurately reflects your wishes
  • The signature on the will is really yours
  • You actually wrote that signature on the document

There are a few issues here. One is the very real chance of fraud. If an heir finds that you wrote a holographic will, could they theoretically alter the will or even write a new one that changes your wishes? You may not have any witnesses. You hope that no one would take advantage of this situation, but money is powerful. People often do, and you leave the door open.

Another issue is that holographic wills can lead to disputes, even when they are valid. An heir who is unhappy with what they received may challenge the will. This creates a complicated court process and a dispute that is hard for your family.

Finally, proving that the will is yours and is valid may be difficult or even impossible. Even handwriting specialists may not know if it's your signature. If the court can't find evidence that the will is valid, it may not hold up, even if you did write it. It's out of your hands at that point.

As you can see, you take a big risk by drafting a will this way. Take the time to look into all of your legal options to avoid an outcome that hurts your family more than it helps.

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