Did you know that 68% of Americans don’t have a will?
A will is a legal document intended to distribute property, money, or other assets to surviving family members. Wills are typically written by a lawyer with at least one witness present and are then notarized.
A handwritten will may not be valid in some states. However, these factors do vary from case to case. If you recently had a loved one pass away and you’re wondering if a handwritten will is valid, keep reading to learn more!
What Is a Holographic Will?
You might be asking questions like, “What is a handwritten will called?” or, “Is a handwritten will legal?”
To answer your question, a handwritten will is called a holographic will. In some states, it is considered a legal document.
However, these kinds of wills can be tricky to work with. For example, in most cases, a holographic will is not notarized and has no witness present. This can make it hard for a court to see the will as legitimate.
The good news is there are steps you can take in these scenarios.
Is a Handwritten Will Legal?
In some states, handwritten wills are not considered a legal document. For example, in Florida, a holographic will must follow the structure and formalities of a professional will.
The will must also be appropriately formatted by the individual. The estates that are being distributed must have all the proper information and paperwork.
This can be hard for an individual to accomplish on their own, especially if they are ill. However, these options are a great way to start when thinking about writing your will.
What Happens If a Will Is Not Valid?
Handwritten wills that have been denied can be overturned by following the proper steps.
For starters, the family of the deceased must go through a probate court to have the will recognized. However, if the court deems the written will as invalid, further steps will need to be taken until someone is sometimes seen as the rightful inheritor.
Usually, the court will decide who gets what. Many times, the children and current spouse will receive most of the estate. Sometimes this causes problems with family members who were supposed to get part of the estate.
Like any other will, a holographic will can be contested by filing paperwork with the probate court. If the will is ultimately unrecognized, then the probate process continues as if there was no will or no beneficiary.
This process can go on for many months. Many times a relative won’t receive benefits until a year or more after their loved one’s death.
That’s why it’s essential to have these affairs in order with the help of professionals. Furthermore, inform your family now about what they should do after your passing.
Final Thoughts on Handwritten Wills
A loved one’s passing can be tough for families, especially when a handwritten will is involved. However, with the proper preparation, these unnecessary legalities can be avoided.
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