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What is a holographic will?

When you hear the term “holographic will,” it might remind you of Princess Leia’s plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movie.

In reality, a holographic will is more realistic and tangible - it is a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator. These are often used in emergency situations.

Validity of a holographic will

A holographic will’s validity varies state to state – many states see them as invalid, while others will accept them, often with provisions.

In Massachusetts, a holographic is valid as long as it follows the standard will and testament requirements in the state. This means the testator must be 18 years of age or older, of sound mind when it was written, and two competent witnesses must be present for its signing and sign it themselves.

Let’s say for example you are in the hospital. You are conscious and aware of what is happening, and you are about to enter a risky surgery that you didn't plan to have. You don’t have a will and testament ready, and you are concerned there is a chance you won’t make it. Your spouse and the nurse caring for you can witness the writing of your handwritten will and sign it before you enter surgery.

A holographic will is a beneficial option in case of an emergency, but it’s not ideal for long-term planning. If you are ill and concerned about your life ending sooner than planned, it can be a stressful time to think about all your assets and desired distribution of property. It is best to think ahead and begin estate planning before it becomes immediately necessary.

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