Elder Law And Estate Planning Attorneys You Can Trust

Shivers Law Group

Is a handwritten will valid in New York?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Wills

CNBC reported that as of 2022, only 33% of adults in the United States have an estate plan. Having a legally valid will can save your loved ones time and money after your death. It makes the situation much easier for them and helps to avoid any conflicts.

While there are many ways to create a will, some people may wish to handwrite one, but is this legal? Will it hold up in court after your death? Handwritten or holographic wills are valid in New York but only under very specific conditions.

Handwritten in full

A holographic will must be entirely in your handwriting. This requirement underscores the personal nature of the document, emphasizing the importance of your direct involvement.

Specific individuals

The law also says you must write the will when working as a mariner at sea or being on active duty during a conflict as a member of the armed services or serving with the armed services. This requirement places the most severe limit on the legality of this type of will since it immediately invalidates holographic wills in the majority of situations.

Capacity at time

A handwritten will may be invalid, even if you meet all other requirements, if you were not of sound mind at the time of its creation. You must have been able to comprehend the consequences of your decisions and understand the nature of your assets when writing the document.

If you meet all the requirements, you should keep the document in a secure and accessible location. Inform trusted individuals of its existence to help ensure the prompt administration of the will upon your death.