A holographic will is a handwritten document created and signed by the testator. It can be
used as an alternative to a will created by a notary or a lawyer. However, many states do not
accept holographic wills, and the states that do, require the will to meet specific requirements to
be recognized. As regular wills, holographic wills must all have instructions regarding
beneficiaries, assets, and how the testator will want those assets disbursed. Additionally,
holographic wills must be in the handwriting of the testator, must be signed, dated, and include
one’s wishes. Further, a holographic will does not avoid the probate process which can take
months to years to finalize.
What is the difference between a simple will and a holographic will?
A simple will covers the basic assets and can be enough for a single person, a couple with
no children, or for someone with just a few assets. The biggest difference between a simple will
and a holographic will is that the holographic will has to be in the testator’s handwriting. Whereas
a simple will can be typed. Even though one will not bypass the probate process with a simple
will, it has a higher chance of being recognized in a probate court than a holographic will.
Why is it risky to have a holographic will?
Holographic wills are risky because many states do not recognize such wills in probate
court. Further, most holographic wills have no witnesses, which gives no proof that the testator
wrote it and intended the writing. Another reason why a holographic will is risky is because the
will might not be legible enough for the beneficiaries or the court to understand the testators last
wishes. Further, a handwritten will can also cause the beneficiaries confusion as to what the real
intended purpose was.
Can a holographic will be accepted in Florida?
In Florida, it is unlikely that a holographic will would be valid in court. This is mainly
because Florida law requires that there be two witnesses present at the time of the signing of a
will. If there are no witnesses or if the witnesses did not see the testator sign the document, then
it will be very likely that a Florida court will not recognize the holographic will.