A holographic will is one that’s handwritten. Some states recognize holographic wills as valid, and some states don’t. And among the states that accept holographic wills, there are a variety of requirements.
In Texas, a holographic will is considered valid as long as it’s entirely in the handwriting of the person making the will, and it’s signed by him or her. Of course, the person making the will also has to have the necessary intent, plus the legal capacity to make a will.
Sound like a simple way to handle your estate planning needs? Think again.
While a holographic will might be your only choice in an emergency, it can also create more problems than it solves.
Most handwritten wills are made in haste, and they’re prone to being misunderstood by family members when it comes time for probate. And misunderstandings have to be resolved by a judge, which means time and expense, plus anxiety and frustration for grieving loved ones who have to wait for access to your property.
Plus, even though a will is handwritten, it’s still held to certain legal requirements. So, if you don’t appoint an executor, or if you don’t include language allowing your executor to serve independently or without bond, you can create red tape for your family to deal with after you’re gone.
So, even though a handwritten will might work in a pinch, this tried and true advice remains valid: estate planning is too important to put off, and it’s too important to take lightly. So, don’t wait for an emergency. Plan early and get the help of an experienced professional.
Otherwise, your last wishes may just be ignored, and a court’s decisions might be substituted for your own.