J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What is a holographic will and is it a good idea to write one?

Wills can be great tools for protecting assets and giving effect to an estate plan. Many estates in Polk County have had great success in achieving these goals through the use of a properly attested will. There are various requirements the law lays down for a properly attested will. These requirements are to maximize the likelihood that the will maker's intentions will be known and followed.

Not every state requires wills to be properly witnessed and executed. Some states recognize the validity of handwritten wills. Lawyers refer to these wills as holographic wills, although here the word "holographic" simply means that the whole will has been written out by hand. In order for handwritten wills to be recognized in the states that recognize them, the entire will must be written out by hand by the will maker and the will maker must sign the handwritten will.

Handwritten wills have the advantage of being easy and inexpensive to make. Unfortunately, they also have many disadvantages. The first is that handwritten wills are not recognized as valid wills in many states. Florida is one of the states that does not recognize the validity of a handwritten will. Florida wills must be properly signed and witnessed in order to be valid.

Another disadvantage of a handwritten will is that they are the easiest written wills to challenge in the states that do recognize them. The lack of witnesses means that handwritten wills are susceptible to challenge on the grounds of forgery and undue influence.

Estate planning is one area of life where many people have benefited from lawyers' advice. Estate planning lawyers can provide advice and can help with any estate planning documents the client may choose to create.

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