J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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Pro and cons of holographic wills

With technological innovations affecting just about every aspect of our lives, there has been one tool that has been affected like none other. Arguably, that aspect is communication, the way in which we speak to each other and express ourselves. Oftentimes, a will can express our wishes and be used as a communication tool in times where one is unable to express themselves or is no longer with us. So naturally, technology has affected the ways in which one goes about preparing a will.

Before technology affected how a will was prepared, wills were often handwritten. When the typewriter was invented, some wills were then prepared on them and now with computers, many wills are electronically prepared. Thinking about a will, the romantic notion of a handwritten will is often what is conjured in one's mind. However, there can be downsides to handwritten wills that one may not be aware of.

Holographic wills, also known as handwritten wills, are exactly as they sound, and are only recognized as valid in some states. If recognized, witnesses are generally not required, unlike typed and computer printed wills. However, since no witnesses are often recognized or notarized on a will, heirs sometimes have difficulty proving the validity of the will in probate. Since they can be difficult to prove as legitimate, handwritten wills are not held to the standard they were in times past.

Since technology is readily available, one is recommended to make use of it when preparing a will. Witnesses can help to make one's will valid and legitimate. Often times these witnesses must sign a will in the presence of a notary or other official source. Don't let your will be out of reach if a time comes in which one needs to make their wishes known.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Making a Will FAQS," Accessed May 22, 2017

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