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What is a holographic will?

Although it sounds like a science-fiction term, a holographic will is simply a handwritten will, written entirely by the person who signs it. You may have heard that holographic wills are not legal in Indiana, but that’s not entirely true.

According to NWI Times, the Hoosier State does not decide the validity of a will based on whether it is written by hand, but by what it contains. Although many other states will recognize a handwritten will that is signed and witnessed properly, Indiana typically requires a little more before it validates a will and admits it to probate proceedings. Being handwritten does not mean it is automatically invalid, however. Courts decide validity on a case-by-case basis.

One of the must-haves for wills in Indiana is that it is in writing (which includes typewriting) and that it proclaims itself as a will that is meant to distribute an estate after death. This requirement prevents interested parties from submitting a personal letter of the decedent’s as a will. Another condition is that the testator must be a competent adult when making the will. Competence requirements are generally that the will maker understands the action they are taking and who family members are.

The third requirement is having proper witnesses. Two people who are not related by blood to the will maker must witness the signatures of the maker and each other. The rule is that the witnesses be “disinterested,” meaning they don’t have a stake in the outcome, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing witnesses.

These are the basic rules to follow for a will, but you can boost your chances of it being declared valid by having a qualified attorney draw up the document. A legal expert will ensure all the necessary information is included, as well as name guardians and personal representatives. It should also cover contingent heirs should one of your first designees die before you. These items are not strict requirements, but they are undoubtedly useful to include.

This article contains valuable information on holographic wills. However, it is not intended to be legal advice.

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