Estate planning is personal, and there may not be anything more personal than a handwritten will. At Ball & Morse, PLLC, we know that many people in Oklahoma may prefer to write out their wishes themselves. You certainly have the right to do so, but you should know a few specifics to ensure that your document is legal and protected.
As the Oklahoma Department of Human Services points out, not all states will honor a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will. Oklahoma statutes do accept them long as they are personally written, dated and signed by a person of sound mind. If you put one together here and relocate, you will have to determine whether or not your new state will honor your will. Additionally, these documents are only valid for the person who has written and signed them. In other words, a husband and wife are not able to have a joint holographic will.
Some other important considerations include the following:
- It can be difficult for people to prove the validity of the will after you have passed.
- If you are not familiar with the laws governing estate planning, you could leave out important information.
- If you use vague terms, such as "mother" or "brother," a court may not be able to properly identify the person to whom you are referring.
The OHDS notes that a poorly written will could result in family disputes or your final wishes not getting followed. Experts recommend working with an attorney to ensure that your will abides by state standards and will enable your heirs to receive the property you designate to them.