Speak to a Live Person.    Call 800-442-9899

Holographic Wills. Are they Enough?

Last Will and Testament concept

By McKenzy Bowers | May 23, 2019

In the past few years we’ve heard many stories of legendary musicians such as Prince and Aretha Franklin who have passed with no official, legally binding Will and no estate planning,  but a massive estate left for the courts and family members to slice and dice based on what their idea of what is fair.  As a result, much of the deceased celebrity’s hard-earned estate may end up going to the IRS and the lawyers for the multiple contesting claimants rather than the loved ones and charities the celebrity cared about the most.

While this kind of wealth doesn’t typically require life insurance policies to replace income, a Will and sound estate plan is required so when death comes knocking everyone you love gets what you want them to have.

In some cases, like Aretha Franklin, the family may be dealing with what’s called a “Holographic Will” or a handwritten will. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a holographic will is defined as “A will or deed written entirely by testator or grantor with his own hand and not witnessed (attested)”.  Black’s goes on to say that not every state will recognize a holographic will and can “[…] refuse to recognize any will not meeting the formal statutory requirements […]”. Clearly, a holographic will is not the most responsible way to manage a huge estate.

So let’s take a look at some quick tips that can help you prepare for your departure.

  • Do you have an inventory of all your assets and liabilities? Thoroughly understanding the state of your assets and liabilities will help you, your estate planning attorney or financial advisor better plan for your eventual departure. Additionally, with all of the details, you will be able to dive deeper into potential challenges ahead and then responsibly solve for them.
  • Who’s getting what? When planning for your departure, you’ll want to choose a beneficiary or beneficiaries – more than one is not only acceptable but common. Especially with larger more complicated estates. You’ll want to discuss who will get what and how much. Additionally, there are tools that can be leveraged to ensure your beneficiaries use the gift the way you intended. For example, if you would like your mother to receive a large sum of money, but she’s a spendthrift and you don’t want her to blow it all. You can use a trust to give your mother a stipend…monthly, quarterly or annually. It’s up to you.
  • Who will manage your legally binding wishes? You’ll want to pick an executor for your estate. This person will make sure all of your wishes are followed to the letter. That person can be anyone of your choosing. You may also state in your will that the executor can or should hire an attorney (to be paid out of the estate’s assets), especially if your estate is large and complicated.
  • What if you unexpectedly become ill or incapacitated? Regardless of how large your estate is, it’s crucial to have a plan around your health. You’ll want to choose a power of attorney and outline a health care directive. This person will manage your medical wishes should you become incapacitated. The person you choose will be empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf such as do not resuscitate directives.

The best-laid plans, and intentions, can sometimes go awry. The responsible way to manage your estate is to begin with a professional. While it’s always a good idea to talk with friends and family for a referral, you can also peruse the American Bar Association’s interactive state-by-state lawyer referral directory.

AccuQuote is in the business of protecting families and that means offering guidance even when we don’t stand to benefit. Because for us, it really is about protecting your kids, your spouse, your mom, your dad…all of the people who love you.

Keep Reading and Learn How to Save Money for Life

6 Factors that may raise your life insurance rates

What is breach of utmost good faith?

What is term life insurance?

Blog Policies
Content, articles, information and opinions expressed on the AccuQuote Blog, whether provided by the authors or public visitors to the website, are provided to help consumers make informed decisions regarding their insurance needs and options. Opinions expressed in the articles are strictly those of the authors and may not represent the view of AccuQuote, its officers, employees, clients or the companies whose products are offered by AccuQuote.
The information, content, and services provided on this site are not intended to be, and should not be construed as legal, tax, financial planning, or other professional advice.  Visitors to the site should look to and rely on their own professional advisors for such advice. 
AccuQuote will not be liable, under any circumstances and in any way, for any errors or omissions, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of use of any content posted on the AccuQuote Blog.  By visiting the AccuQuote Blog, you acknowledge and agree that you use the content at your own risk and bear all risks associated with your use of any content, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content.
See also our website terms and conditions Terms & Conditions

We only work with highly rated insurance companies – brand names you trust. You may be able to save money without sacrificing quality and strength.