Pros and Cons of a Holographic Will

A holographic will is a handwritten will that is recognized in many states. The first thing you have to do when considering this type of will is to make sure your state will acknowledge it as a valid will. If it does, consider these pros and cons before writing one.

Pros of a Holographic Will

You may like the idea of having more control over your will by writing it yourself. Some pros of writing a holographic will include:

  • No witnesses required
  • You don't have to pay an attorney or purchase will preparation software
  • Freedom to write statements, such as why you've chosen to dispose of property the way you did

These benefits may appeal to you, but you have to weigh them against the cons of writing a holographic will.

Cons of a Holographic Will

  • Costs more to probate than a typed will
  • The will may fail to distribute all of your property
  • A judge may void certain "unreadable" sections and decide on how to best dispose of the property according to state laws
  • A holographic will is more contested than "formal" wills

Many estate planning attorneys recommend preparing a typed will and obtaining the signatures of witnesses. They often advise against preparing a holographic will.


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