A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament written and signed by the Testator. Nevada law provides:
1. A holographic will is a will in which the signature, date and material provisions are written by the hand of the testator, whether or not it is witnessed or notarized. It is subject to no other form, and may be made in or out of this State.
As such, holographic wills are valid if the will is (1) signed, (2) dated and (3) the material provisions are written by the person creating the holographic will.
Even though holographic wills are valid in the state of Nevada, they are often not recommended for several reasons:
- Probate Avoidance. Although holographic wills may be valid as to the disposition of the testator’s assets, the creation of a holographic will does not help a person avoid probate. Probate is the court supervised process to pay creditors and distribute a person’s assets to beneficiaries. Most attorneys advise their clients to avoid probate if possible because it is a long and expensive process.
- Admitting the holographic will to court. NRS 136.190 provides that “a holographic will may be proved by authentication satisfactory to the court.” Even though a holographic will may be valid under the holographic will statute, the court will not accept the will until it is “proved by authentication satisfactory to the court.” This means that the court must have evidence sufficient to prove that the will was actually written by the testator. This generally requires affidavits from parties familiar with the testator or an analysis from a handwriting expert. This process can be time consuming and expense.
- Legal advice. Generally when a person creates their own will, they do so without legal advice. Many of the holographic wills that we see in our office are either done incorrectly or lack important provisions that are usually found in a will. A will is an important document that speaks for a person when they are no longer able to speak for themselves. As such, proper legal advice is key to creating a functional will.
Holographic wills are valid in Nevada and can serv an important purpose if used properly. Should you have any questions regarding holographic wills in Nevada, feel free to contact our office.