- Holographic will
A holographic will is a will and testament that has been entirely handwritten and signed by the
testator. Normally, a will must be signed by witnesses attesting to the validity of the testator's signatureand intent, but in many jurisdictions, unwitnessed holographic wills are treated as valid as witnessed wills and need only to meet minimal requirements in order to be probated:
* There must be evidence that the testator actually created the will, which can be proved through the use of
witnesses, handwriting experts, or other methods.
* The testator must have had the intellectual capacity to write the will, although there is a presumption that a testator had such capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary.
* The testator must be expressing a wish to direct the distribution of his estate to beneficiaries.
Holographic wills are common and are often created in emergency situations, such as when the testator is alone, trapped and near death. Jurisdictions that do not generally recognize unwitnessed holographic wills will accordingly grant exceptions to members of the armed services who are involved in armed conflicts and
sailorsat sea, though in both cases the validity of the holographic will expires at a certain time after it is drafted.
Holographic wills often show that the requirements for making a valid will are minimal. The "
Guinness Book of World Records" lists the shortest will in the world as "All to wife," which clearly meets the minimum requirements. On June 8, 1948 in Saskatchewan, Canada, a farmer named Cecil George Harris who had become trapped under his own tractorcarved a will into the tractor's fender. It read "In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo. Harris" The fender was probated and stood as his will. The fender is currently on display at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law law library.
Law in various jurisdictions
United States, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in around 25 out of the 50 states. [ [http://www.lawchek.com/Library1/_books/probate/qanda/holographic.htm Laws on holographic wills by State] ] Many states, for example New York, place tight restrictions on who may use a holographic will. [ [http://www.assembly.state.ny.us NY state Assembly web site] ] Jurisdictions that do not themselves recognize such holographic wills may nonetheless accept them under a "foreign wills act" if drafted in another jurisdiction in which it would be valid.Fact|date=September 2007 Under the Louisiana Civil Code, such a will is known as "olographic". [ [http://www.meocpa.com/lawills.html MEOCPA web site page on Louisiana wills] ]
United Kingdom, unwitnessed holographic wills are valid in Scotlandbut not in England and Wales.Fact|date=September 2007
Holographic wills need not be signed, when subscription to the writing appearing on the last page of such sheet is "your loving mother," or words to the effect which designates the family or personal relationship, if it is a material consideration, the signature is sufficient.
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