The definition of a holographic will is that it is a handwritten will signed by a person, called the testator, and is an alternative to a will produced by a lawyer. Holographic wills are not witnessed or notarized, and so they are not recognized in Illinois. Some states do not require a will to have a witness.
Holographic wills are not frequently used in Illinois because they lack the basic requirements to be admitted to probate. They are not treated the same as a traditional will because they do not have a witness. They are often ambiguous or unclearly written compared to traditional wills. What differentiates a holographic will from a traditional will is that a holographic will is handwritten and unwitnessed while a traditional will prepared by a lawyer is almost always typed and witnessed by two individuals. Holographic wills are usually missing much of the language that lawyers normally include in wills to make them clear for the courts to understand and administer.
A holographic will is not be recognized in Illinois unless it meets the witness requirements of Illinois law, or was made in another state that does not require witness signatures. If your handwritten will is not recognized, your estate could fall under intestacy laws. An experienced trust and wills attorney can advise you on creating a legally valid and binding will and help you plan for the future.
An Illinois estate planning attorney can help to make sure that your will contains all the required components and that it meets the state’s legal requirements. For information about estate planning and probate caveats and litigation, contact Estate & Probate Legal Group in Illinois today at 630-800-0112.