Most Recently Updated November 5th, 2017.
From Our “Ask a Question” mailbag: What are the differences between a Philadelphia Holographic Wills vs. Self-Proved Wills?
Holographic Wills vs. Self-Proved Wills.
Can you write a valid Will on the back of an envelope in Philadelphia? The answer is yes, but you are asking for trouble. Philadelphia Will Drafting Attorneys agree Self-Proved Wills are preferable to Holographic Wills.
What is a Will?
A Will is a statement declaring a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of the person’s property when the person dies. It affects titles to land, who receives bank accounts and stocks and whom will serve in guardianships for minor children. Any discrepancy, error or omission can lead to years of litigation and bad feelings between the surviving family members. A Will is not something to take lightly.
What is a Holographic Will?
A Holographic Will is a handwritten Will without witnesses. Few states recognize Holographic Wills, but Pennsylvania is one of them. (link to Frequently asked questions). Drafting with the guide of an experienced Estate Planning Lawyer is the typical problem Holographic Will problem. Often the document has errors or omissions that lead to litigation in the Orphans’ Court. You can imagine that a handwritten Will can also raise questions about forgery, requiring family members to retain handwriting experts and again, lead to litigation over the Will’s validity.
What is a Self-Proving Will?
Rather than having a Holographic Will, it is a better idea to have a Self-Proved Will with two witnesses. A Self-Proving Will is a Will that includes an acknowledgment sworn to by the witnesses. The witnesses verify, among other things, that the testator was the one who signed the Will, that the testator signed the Will willingly and of his free and voluntary will. Further, they verify that each witness was in the hearing and the sight of the testator when he signed the Will. Also, that the testator was 18, of sound mind and under no constraint or undue influence.
This acknowledgment is notarized. When the testator then dies, this notarized Will acknowledgment allows the Register of Wills to accept the Will as valid without involving the witnesses or getting further affidavits. The family also knows that the Will was signed in front of witnesses who can be located and questioned, which reduces the chances of litigation.
Which Will Helps Avoid Litigation?
If you wish to have a Holographic Will, Pennsylvania does allow you that right. But, as a Philadelphia Attorney who has drafted many Wills….and has spent years in the Orphans’ Court litigating over the validity of Wills…I can say that having a well-drafted Self-Proving Will is your better choice.
Philadelphia Holographic Wills vs. Self-Proved Wills.
Space here doesn’t allow me to give a great deal of detail. So, if you would like more information I encourage you to read more about estate planning options.
In this Post, I tried to address Philadelphia Holographic Wills vs. Self-Proved Wills. Further, I included links to even more detailed information on my website. So, let me know how I did, comments and questions are welcome!
Furthermore, I would be happy to answer your questions. If you have any other matters for a Philadelphia Estate Planning Lawyer, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. We try to make the process as painless as possible!
Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!
Author, Peter Klenk, Esq.
Throughout our website, klenklaw.com, you may find more information about Estate Planning. Also, our firm focuses exclusively in the area of estate planning, probate, and the litigation surrounding estate planning and probate. This includes Will Contests and Will Challenges. Therefore, if you need assistance with any estate related matter call one of our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers for a free consultation. We practice throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota and Florida.
If you need assistance with an estate plan or have questions about Will Contests, please call one of our will challenge lawyers or estate planning attorneys for a free consultation. Our Will Attorneys and Will challenge attorneys have extensive experience in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida. So if your question is in any of these states, feel free to contact us.