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Is a handwritten will legally valid?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Drafting a will is something everyone should do, and you may be thinking about having one done. As you think about what you would like to include in your will, you may jot things down here and there, or perhaps prepare a handwritten will, intending to get it professionally drafted later.

But what if something happens to you before you have a chance to get your handwritten will typed up?

Basic requirements for a will

Your handwritten will can still be valid in certain circumstances. A requirement for any will, written or typed, is that the person creating the will is over 18 and of sound mind.

The will should be understandable, with a listing of your property and who you would like to receive it. A will must be notarized.

Self-written wills

If your handwritten will is signed by you and notarized, it is called a self-written will. Notarizing your will is an important step, because it proves that someone witnessed you sign the will.

Having a self-written will can save your family the cost and stress of proving your will is valid or going through the probate process.

Holographic wills

You may sign your handwritten will but not have it notarized. Your will is then a holographic will. This type of will is usually written when a person is in a dire situation, such as when they believe they are near death and want to quickly write out a will.

A holographic will may still be ultimately accepted in the state of Nevada. However, there is no guarantee.

Your will can still be challenged

Whether your handwritten will is notarized or holographic, it can still be challenged by someone who claims it is not valid. They may try to say you were not the one who signed it, or that someone else forced you to write and/or sign it.

Although your handwritten well may eventually be proved legally valid, the process of getting there can be stressful and complicated for your loved ones. Bringing your handwritten will to a legal professional who can type it up and complete any other legal requirements can ease future burdens on your loved ones.