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Holographic Will


Will created, written, signed, and dated by the testator in the testator’s writing.


A holographic will is a handwritten will created without witnesses. The only requirement of this will is that a testator hand-write all components, including the names of the beneficiaries and how real property should be distributed.

A holographic will, now less common than years past, must be signed and dated by the testator.

The main reasons why testators choose to use a holographic will is because they cannot afford the costs of hiring a lawyer and/or death is imminent and do not have enough time to properly draft a will.

Due to the complicated laws that govern wills, and the difficulty in drafting a will without legal expertise, holographic wills are commonly deemed invalid.

There are currently 27 states that accept holographic wills to various extents.
















New Jersey

North Carolina

North Dakota


South Dakota





West Virginia


With this being said, in order to not cross paths regarding any scam or fraudulent act, many states will demand the holographic will include the composers signature at the bear minimum. From then on it will be left up to the courts and they will have to make the final judgment as to whether or not the will was indeed signed by the testator, and not a forgery of any kind. In many instances, the court may bring in a handwriting specialist to help further validate the authenticity of the signature written on the holographic will.

Additional Requirements

The testator is also required to be specific and accurate in respect to the names of the beneficiaries as well as all transactions related to assets, accounts and property.

Should I consult with an attorney?

Due to the fact, a witness not need be present when putting together a holographic will, it is not necessary to hire an attorney in order to draft such a will of this kind.

Holographic Will vs Traditional Wills

The primary difference between a holographic will vs virtually every other traditional will is when signing an ordinary type of will, other witnesses must be present and sign off the drafted document which will prove they both acknowledge and concur that the testators signature is both valid, and has the proper intentions. Holographic wills however, do not require any witness, and can legally be executed. Although it is almost always recommended and in some states required that any will must have a witness signature in addition to other legal requirements made necessary when drafting a will. A holographic will is widely regarded as being reckless and an unorthodox way of drafting a will. The final argument is that such a will can make it extremely difficult in respect to validity, proof, evidence, and can lead the legal system in some states declaring such a draft as vague and therefore can be voided.