I know most people have at least thought about doing this before – You’re about to leave on a big trip and you don’t have an estate plan in place. So what do you do? You hurry and write something down on a piece of paper and call it your will hoping that it will be good enough if something happens to you on the trip. Be honest, how many of you have done this? Believe it or not, handwritten wills (or holographic wills) are completely valid in Utah. The law simply states that as long as you sign the document and the material portions are in your handwriting, it is valid. What does material portions mean? Just to be safe, I recommend that the entire document be in your handwriting. That’s it! Easy as that. So next time you’re getting ready to leave on a trip and decide to throw a will together at the last minute, just remember to make sure you write it out and sign it and you should be good.
Although handwritten wills are completely valid in Utah, they are not the best option for an estate plan and can open the door for a probate fight. Indeed, as has been documented in the news this past year, the estate of the famous painter of light, Thomas Kinkade, was left in a probate battle when he purportedly left two handwritten wills giving a large portion of his estate to his girlfriend. Handwritten Wills at Center of Thomas Kinkade Estate Battle . As you can clearly see from Mr. Kinkade’s estate, handwritten wills may leave many questions unanswered that must be settled in a court of law.
So the next time you get ready to leave on your big trip and you’ve forgotten to get your estate plan in place, don’t hesitate to scribble something down really quick, sign it and then go have a great time. When you get back however, come in and sit down and let’s put something in place that will give you a bit more piece of mind then your handwritten will.