Holographic Wills in a Time of COVID-19

One of my favorite expressions is “[k]eep calm and carry on.”   In the spirit of carrying on, and while the seriousness of the pandemic has brought end of life front and center, our clients are asking about what to do about having or updating a will.  When confronted with the need to have a notary plus two witnesses for a self-proving will, folks are asking for an alternative that allows for a last will and testament to be made without having to actually be with other people.  Thus, a holographic (handwritten) will is for that situation. The requirements for a holographic will are:

  1. The will is written entirely in the handwriting of the person making the will; 
  2. The will is signed by the person making the will; and, 
  3. The document is found where it is clearly an important document such as with their other important papers or placed in a safety deposit box or with a person who was entrusted with it for safekeeping.  

The good news for those socially distancing more than the required six feet:  No attesting witness to a holographic will is required.

What that means is that if you want to change your will or make a completely new one while you do not wish to meet with us, you can write your wishes down, sign it, and put it with your important papers (e.g., a fireproof safe at home or in a desk with your passport or your birth certificate) and you have a will.  If you decide to make a holographic will, call us and we will walk through what you absolutely must have in it. At a minimum, say who you want to handle things and who is receiving things.  

Meanwhile, we are still keeping calm and carrying on.  We are still here to help with your estate planning needs and can accomplish everything without getting within six feet of you and based upon more than just getting something done.  Practicing law is an essential service and we can take care of your estate planning right now. If you cannot handle that idea right now, this is a stopgap measure until we can meet when the social distancing requirements are lifted.