Holographic Will Nevada

How does a holographic will in Nevada work? Wood Law Group can explain everything you need to know about holographic wills. Call for more information.

What Is a Holographic Will? 

A holographic will is one that is written in the testator’s (that is, the maker’s) handwriting. This type of will is easy to create because the legal requirements for its validity are minimal.

The simplicity of holographic wills makes them attractive to people who wish to leave a last will and testament to distribute their assets and provide for their loved ones after their demise without hassle. If you belong to that category and you’re considering making a holographic will instead of a formal will with its many requirements, it is important that you fully understand how both wills work before you make a choice.

This guide explains how holographic wills work in Nevada and its pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Holographic Will

Holographic Wills Under Nevada Law

Holographic wills in Nevada are regulated by section 133.090 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). According to the section, anyone can create a holographic will in Nevada, provided they are of sound mind and over 18 years old. If you meet these conditions, you can proceed to prepare your holographic will. But it must meet the following requirements to be valid.

  • The will’s material provisions or essential parts must be written in your handwriting. Using a pre-typed form to prepare a holographic will may invalidate your holographic will.
  • You must also sign and date the will in your handwriting.

A valid holographic will in Nevada has the same force and effect as a formal will. Hence, you can use your holographic will to leave instructions about the distribution of your real and personal property as long as it meets those requirements.

Holographic Wills Under Nevada Law

Holographic Wills vs. Formal Wills

Formal wills are so-called because they require certain legal formalities to be valid, which typically exceed the requirements for holographic wills.
For example, the testator must sign a formal will in terms of Nevada law. The signing process must be done in the presence of at least two competent witnesses who will, in turn, sign their names on the will in the presence of the testator.

This witnessing process is formally called attestation, and its purpose is to establish the authenticity of a will. Any formal will made without the attestation process is invalid under Nevada law, no matter how well-drafted its contents are.

This is in stark contrast to the holographic will, where the only validity requirements for such wills, as we saw earlier, are that the signature, date, and material provisions are written by the hand of the testator.

Essentially, holographic wills are easier to create because the legal requirements are fewer. You’ll likely need professional help from an estate planning attorney to create a formal will to ensure that there are no mistakes that could invalidate the will and prevent your wishes from being carried out. But you can easily create a holographic will on your own, which could help you avoid paying legal fees to a lawyer.

Given the above advantages, you’re probably tilting more towards creating a holographic will for yourself by this time. But ease of creation should not be the basis for deciding on the appropriate type of will. Before you finalize your decision, read on to learn about the drawbacks of holographic wills and why they may not be right for you.

Holographic Wills vs. Formal Wills

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Holographic Wills

Holographic wills present both distinct benefits and inherent risks. Firstly, their simplicity and cost-effectiveness are major advantages. A testator can draft one without the need for legal representation or witnesses, making it a straightforward method for expressing last wishes, especially in urgent situations. This is particularly beneficial in scenarios where obtaining formal legal services is impractical.

On the downside, the lack of formal witnessing and legal scrutiny can lead to significant issues. There is a higher likelihood of challenges in probate court, primarily due to questions about the authenticity and the mental state of the testator at the time of writing. Furthermore, holographic wills are more prone to being contested by unhappy heirs, which can result in lengthy and costly legal disputes.

Moreover, without the guidance of an estate planning attorney, there’s a greater risk of omitting crucial elements or drafting errors, potentially leading to unintended consequences after the testator’s death. This underscores the importance of considering personal circumstances and the complexity of one’s estate when deciding on the type of will to create.

advantages and disadvantages of holographic will

What Are the Drawbacks to a Holographic Will?

Holographic Wills Do Not Help You Avoid Probate

Probate in Nevada is a court-supervised process that all wills must pass through before assets under the will can be distributed to the beneficiaries. The process involves:

  • Scrutinizing the will to be sure it meets the legal requirements;
  • Authentication to ensure the document was not forged; and
  • Determining who has the right to execute the deceased testator’s estate.

The process is lengthy and delays the asset distribution process; hence most people try to avoid it as much as possible. But despite their simplicity, holographic wills, like formal wills, must pass through probate before they can be executed. If probate avoidance is your goal, many estate planning devices and techniques could help. You can contact skilled Las Vegas probate lawyers to learn your options and help you determine the best way forward.

What Are the Drawbacks to a Holographic Will

Holographic Wills Are Difficult To Authenticate

Authentication of the will is one of the phases of the probate process. The purpose of this phase is to ensure that the will was not forged since the testator is no longer around to identify their document.

With formal wills, authentication doesn’t pose a problem as long as at least two witnesses properly attested to the will. But because holographic wills do not require attestation, proving their authenticity typically takes longer.

The court may accept evidence such as affidavits from people familiar with the testator or a handwriting expert’s analysis to prove that the testator made the will. But collecting this sort of evidence can be expensive and time-consuming.

Because of the authentication difficulties, holographic wills are more likely to be contested by any beneficiary who feels they got less than they deserved. They could file a lawsuit challenging the will’s validity, which could delay the asset distribution process for other beneficiaries.

Therefore, a holographic will is not ideal if you wish to achieve a seamless transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries.

Holographic Wills May Not Adequately Protect Your Beneficiaries

Many people who create their own last holographic will do so without getting experienced legal counsel. This often leads to errors or omissions that could make it difficult for their assets or parts of it to pass to the intended beneficiaries. Some of the common mistakes or omissions people often make while preparing their will include the following;

  • Referring to beneficiaries with generic terms such as “my sister” or “my aunt ” instead of the person’s given name. This would make it difficult to identify who gets what and would make the distribution of the estate difficult or impossible.
  • Omitting assets from the will and failing to update the will after acquiring new assets. Any asset not covered by your will will be distributed according to state law and your wishes as to how the affected assets should be distributed would no longer matter.

Considering all the negatives, a holographic, handwritten will may not be the best idea if you wish to create a solid set of instructions to outlive you and protect your loved ones. The future risks are much higher than the money you’ll save by making your will on your own, which is why you should consider creating a formal will with the help of an estate planning lawyer. This way, you can rest easy knowing that the future of your loved ones is secure.

Get Help Creating a Valid and Functional Will at the Wood Law Group

If you have further questions about creating valid wills in Nevada, please get in touch with us at the Wood Law Group. We are a firm of experienced estate planning and probate lawyers, and we can help you document your final wishes and ensure that they meet the legal requirements. That way, you can be sure your wishes will be fulfilled when you’re no longer around.

Call us today to set up a meeting with one of our skilled lawyers. Let us help you get started.

Get Help Creating a Valid and Functional Will at the Wood Law Group