Man meeting with his attorney to discuss a holographic will.

What Are Holographic Wills and Can I Use One?

  • Posted on: Nov 14 2019
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As life changes over time, it is wise to create and regularly review a Will with an experienced estate planning and probate attorney. This can allow you to make your own decisions for your wishes should you find yourself in certain situations. It also allows your wishes to be carried out when you pass away. This includes who you wish to inherit your assets. But what can you do if you do not have the time to visit with an attorney? Do you have any other options for carrying out your final wishes?

California State Law on Holographic Wills

Under California State law, it is legal to create a holographic will. A holographic will is one that is handwritten without the presence of any official witnesses. This means that you can write down your final wishes, including who you wish to inherit your assets and then simply sign it. Holographic wills are extremely easy to create, so why pay for an attorney in the first place? 

The Probate Process

In order for a will to be upheld and carried out as desired, it must first go through a process referred to as probate. This probate process ensures that the Will is valid so that the state can then properly distribute the decedent’s property. Having your Will created by a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning and probate attorney is much more likely to pass through the probate process quickly, as these attorneys understand where to be most careful and how to write clear instructions. In this situation, it will be unlikely for the court to find an issue with the will. Conversely, since a holographic Will does not require any witnesses, the probate court is likely to carefully inspect the Will and to find existing problems. Without the assistance of an attorney, the process will likely prove longer and more expensive. 

Holographic Wills: The Difficulty of Proving Validity

In order for a will to be valid, the individual who executes it must understand what they are doing. When someone creates a holographic Will, it can be quite common for those left out of it to contest its validity; that it was made with undue influence or without proper soundness. Even if there are no grounds for these claims, they can be difficult to disprove and the Will is likely to end up in probate for a long time. It could even be years before anyone receives anything.

The Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC Help Individuals in CA to Create a Proper Will

Although legal, holographic Wills are often not encouraged since they can cause inconvenience and prove difficult for your loved ones, involving a lot of time and money. It is always a safer option to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced estate planning and probate attorney who knows what he or she is doing. 

If you or a loved one is in need of a Will, the Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC can help. We understand the importance of protecting what really matters. We will help you to build a proper Will to decrease the stress on your family and friends when you pass. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!

Posted in: Wills and Trusts