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What Is a “Holographic Will” and Is It Valid in Nevada?

Posted on March 9, 2022 in asset protection,probate

Put simply, a holographic will is a handwritten (versus typed) will, and, yes, it can be valid and enforceable in Nevada if done correctly.

While having a handwritten will might sound simple, as with most things in the law, there are a number of requirements that such a document must possess before it will be accepted by a Nevada court as a person’s last will and testament.

Under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 133.090, in order for a holographic will to be valid and enforceable, it must be (1) signed by the person making the will; and (2) it must be dated; and (3) the material portion of the will must be in the handwriting of the person signing the document.

As to the signature, the law does not require that it be notarized or witnessed. It is best that a signature be as clear as possible, and as similar in style and nature as other documents signed by the person making the will.  This way, if the document is ever challenged, the signature on the will can be compared and analyzed by experts comparing it to other known signatures of the will maker and the question of authenticity can be cleared without significant delay.

As to the date, it is certainly possible for a person to draft the will on one date and sign it on another date, even years apart. It is only required that document be dated. In practice, however, it is probably best if the document is drafted and signed in a single event. Waiting to date the will is a risk that it will never be done, and the will invalidated.

Finally, the term “material portion” of the will that must be in writing has been taken to mean that portion of the will by which the person disposes of his property to others, whether that is to a single person, several people, or a charity. Introductory language of the document can be written by someone else, or might be part of a pre-printed form, either of which will not invalidate the document, but, again, the part of the document by which the person gives his possessions to others, must be in writing.

If any of the three requirements for a valid holographic will are not met, it will not be validated by a Nevada court and the gifts intended to be made may end up to unintended recipients.