Holographic Wills

Holographic Wills are wills that have been entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. In some states, all wills must be signed by witnesses attesting to the validity of the testator’s signature and intent; however, unwitnessed Holographic Wills are treated as valid in Texas. In Texas, and many other states, the critical issue with Holographic Wills is that they must be written entirely in the decedent’s handwriting. Any parts of Holographic Will that are typed, preprinted, or written by another individual will be completely disregarded – just as if they were not there at all. Other than this handwriting requirement, Holographic Wills must generally meet the same basic requirements of a Will. That is, the testator must have testamentary capacity and intent; and the Will must be executed of the testators’ own free will, devoid of any undue influence.

Writing a Holographic Will in an emergency or as a stop-gap measure until a more formal will can be drafted by an estate planning attorney may serve an immediate purpose; however, there are many pitfalls in relying on a Holographic Will to dispose of assets properly. Specific language must be used in a Will in order to establish testamentary intent. It is likely that people who try to save money by writing their own Wills do not use the proper language. Frequently, improperly written Wills are not accepted into probate and the writer’s estate must be distributed through a process that includes a court’s determination of heirship and, at least, two attorneys instead of one. In the end, it is a much more costly proposition to write one’s own Will than having had an attorney write the Will; and, the estate property may not go to the people the decedent intended to receive it. Additionally, if the Will is not self-proving (which is rarely the case with a holographic Will), witnesses, who do not stand to inherit, but who can attest to the decedent’s handwriting, must be called to testify in court.

Simply put, it is not advisable to rely on a holographic Will. The attorneys at Garg & Associates can handle your estate planning needs, whether they are simple or complex, in a much safer, surer, and more cost-effective manner.

We invite you to contact us for a consultation. Call Garg & Associates, PC at 281-362-2865 or complete our contact form.

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Garg & Associates, PC | 21 Waterway Avenue, Suite 300 | The Woodlands, Texas 77380 Please call 281-362-2865 | Fax: 866-743-4506
Serving The Woodlands, Spring, Houston, Conroe, Kingwood, Tomball, Cypress, Huntsville, Cleveland, Stafford, Montgomery County, Harris County, West Oaks, Memorial, Sugar
Land, River Oaks, Alief, Stafford, Missouri City, and Southwest Houston Texas.