A "Holographic Will" is a Will written by hand. In order to be valid in Utah, it must have all the required elements. In order to be clear, it should contain a minimum amount of information.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about holographic wills:
What should my handwritten will say?
A Holographic will should contain the following:
- Your full name and all other names you have used;
- Your place of residence;
- A statement that the document is your will;
- Your marital status, naming present spouse, if any;
- The names of all your children, whether alive, deceased, or adopted. It is important to include even those children to whom nothing will be left so there is no confusion.
- Who is to get what, including any gifts to friends or special family members. If your spouse is supposed to get everything if she or he survives you, simply write it that way.
- For example: "I give everything to [spouse's name], if s/he survives me. If s/he does not survive me, I give..." and state who gets what. If everything is to be split equally among your children, that is all that needs to be written. It is helpful to state who should receive the share of a child if the child should die before you. If you want disinherit or "leave someone out," write: "I leave nothing to [person's name]."
- The name of the person who will act as Personal Representative (this is the current term for "Executor" or "Administrator"). This person will collect your assets, pay any outstanding bills, and distribute property according to the will.
- You may also designate a Guardian for a minor child.
- Sign and date the document.
What if I make a mistake and/or want to change my handwritten will?
A holographic will should not be corrected or changed by crossing out words or lines. There are two ways to make changes:
- Handwrite an entirely new will; or
- Handwrite a "codicil", which is an "amendment to a will". A codicil specifies anything to be deleted and anything to be added. A holographic codicil, like the Holographic will, must be in the writer's own handwriting and signed by him or her; it should be dated, too, and kept with the will.
It is often just as easy and less confusing to write an entirely new will when you need to change a holographic will.
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