Is A Handwritten Will Legal in Illinois?

  • Wills
Is A Handwritten Will Legal in Illinois?

A handwritten will, officially known as a holographic will, is not frequently used in Illinois because it does not meet the legal requirements to be admitted to probate. Most states do not recognize handwritten (holographic) wills. A holographic will is not recognized in Illinois unless it meets the witness requirements of Illinois law. A holographic will is only legal if it complies with Illinois state laws, including the signature of 2 witnesses.

If a handwritten will is not recognized by the state and no other legally executed will exists, the estate could fall under your intestacy laws.

What Are The Legal Requirements for a Will in Illinois?

A handwritten will may be valid in Illinois if it meets the legal requirements. Illinois probate requirements for a valid will are:

  • The testator (the creator of the will) must be at least 18 years old.
  • The testator must be of sound mind and have the mental capacity to understand the consequences of his or her actions.
  • The will must be signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses, who must also sign the will.

Virtual Witnessing and Notarizing A Will

During the COVID pandemic, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzer issued Executive Order t2020-14 that allows someone to witness a will virtually through video-conferencing if they are physically in the state of Illinois. The Executive Order was turned into law in June 2020.

Virtual estate planning allows someone to work with an attorney using technology such as a phone, tablet or computer to electronically execute legally valid and enforceable wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianships and other types of legal documents.

Do You Have Questions for A DuPage County Will and Trust Attorney?

Do you need to make or update a will? Do you have questions about whether your will – or the will of someone you care about – is legal in Illinois? An Illinois estate planning lawyer can protect your rights and your interests and work with you to prevent or minimize potential challenges to your will. Consulting an experienced probate, trust and estates attorney in Chicago or Lombard can give you advice and discuss your legal options. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835. 

AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties