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What is a holographic will?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2021 | Simple Wills | 0 comments

Estate planning can feel overwhelming, even if you do not have a complex situation. You know there are rules to follow, but it can be challenging to know when they apply.

Holographic wills tend to be an area where a blend of old and new guidelines combine with fiction to give incorrect information. A holographic will is a handwritten will, and only a few states consider them valid.

Here’s what you need to know about holographic wills in Virginia.

Yes, but with rules

Some movies and TV shows will give the impression that you can make a will by jotting a few thoughts on a napkin. While the type of paper is not part of the requirement for a will, there are other guidelines to ensure your will is valid, such as:

  • Signature requirements
  • Disinterested witnesses
  • Acknowledgment from simultaneous witnesses

The rules that apply to your particular situation will depend on how much of the will is in your handwriting and the people who can testify that the will is valid.

Who can be a disinterested witness?

Witnesses are essential, especially if someone contests the will. A holographic will typically requires at least two disinterested witnesses.

A disinterested witness is typically someone who is not a beneficiary of the will. While part of the Virginia code implies witnesses could also be beneficiaries, the section dealing with holographic wills specifically states that witnesses to holographic wills should be disinterested parties.

Although a holographic will can be a useful option in certain situations, the probate process tends to be simpler for your family with a thorough estate plan in place.