Are Holographic Wills Valid?

When we deal with estate planning, I’m often asked if holographic wills are valid.

“Can I just go write on a piece of paper and put it in my drawer and that be recognized as a valid will?”

And the answer is, maybe. It depends on how you do it.

Arizona recognized two types of wills: Formal Wills & Holographic Wills

  1.  Formal wills: Arizona law has specific requirements on the formation of a valid will.
    1. It requires two witnesses. 
    2. It must be signed. When it’s signed it has some formation requirements for it to be valid.
  2. Holographic wills:  Arizona law, however, recognizes what’s known as a holographic will. But the statute recognizing a holographic will is very specific on what that will has to look like:
    1.  It must be handwritten. Notice I didn’t say type-written and print it out. It has to be handwritten. And it has to be signed by the testator (the person making the will). 
    2. Invalid holographic wills: If you print out or type out a will and sign it without the formal requirements of witnesses, it is not a valid will. It has to be in handwriting and signed by the testator for it to be a valid holographic will. 

Obviously, as a practice pointer, the better approach is to have an entire will drawn up, rather than just drawing it on up a piece of paper. 

But those (holographic wills) will be valid if they follow the formal requirements.

If you have any questions about any aspect of estate planning feel free to give us a call 480.788.9911