Written by attorney Theodore W. Robinson

Does a Holographic Will (meaning a handwritten Will) Have to be Signed?

No, holographic wills do not need to be signed, but only when the writing appearing on the last page of it is signed "your loving father," or "your loving wife" etc. Those words denote a close family tie or personal relationship which can be used instead of an actual signature. This is often accepted because if a dying person is writing out their Last Will by hand because they believe they are in dire circumstances, they would also be using more familiar terms with their loved ones. This is most common among holographic Wills written in emergency situations, or by those written by people who have not spoken with their lawyers. The last, and perhaps most important, consideration is a holographic Will which is written in the testator's handwriting, must be proven to be in his/her handwriting and when people are in great distress, their handwriting will often reflect that stress which makes it a lot harder to prove that its really their handwriting. This could lead to such a Will being disallowed rather than accepted by the Court. In conclusion, its best to follow the normal rules for preparation of your Will and only write it out in your own handwriting if you're in the armed forces on active duty and usually in a war zone or then have it changed within a year of being there.

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