Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on April 14, 2022
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Regardless of how large your estate is or how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass, you need to have a will. However, many people put off creating their will or may believe they have a will, but it’s actually invalid. Having an invalid will can mean that you might pass away believing your assets will be distributed according to your wishes, only for the will to be disputed. This can happen if you have a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will. While handwritten wills are legal in Tennessee, they can lead to issues.
Handwritten wills might seem easier, but it’s often in your best interest to have an estate planning lawyer help you create your will. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and, in some cases, you may need to create a handwritten will.
When to Create a Handwritten Will
Ideally, you’ve created your will far in advance and have regularly updated it following major life changes. However, many American adults don’t have a will yet. When you’re young, healthy, and have other things preoccupying your time, this can seem easy to put off for the time being. Unfortunately, accidents and illness can occur at any time, which is why you should always have a valid will, even if you think it may not be used any time soon.
If someone does find themselves in a situation where they believe they’re near the end of their life and haven’t created their will yet, this would be an appropriate time to create a handwritten will. The testator may not have the time to write their will with a lawyer in a situation like this, but they may know how they want their assets to be distributed and their other affairs to be handled. A handwritten will can give someone the opportunity to still create estate plans if they haven’t done so already.
What Does a Handwritten Will Need to Be Valid in Tennessee?
Handwritten wills are legal in Tennessee, but there are still rules regarding what makes one valid. If the testator isn’t careful, they may make a mistake when creating their will that will result in it being considered invalid. This is why it’s best to have assistance from an estate planning lawyer and create the will as soon as possible.
Unlike other wills that require two witness signatures, a handwritten will does not need to have witnesses present. However, a handwritten will needs to be written entirely by hand by the testator, as opposed to typing it. Then, there must be two witnesses who can confirm that the will is written in the testator’s handwriting, so these need to be individuals who know the testator well enough to know their handwriting.
Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC to Start Writing Your Will Today
It might not seem like you don’t need a will just yet, but it’s always best to have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared. When you have time to plan in advance, it’s best to write your will with an estate planning attorney to ensure its validity and that it contains everything you need it to. This will only help make things easier for your loved ones later on. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, our estate planning attorneys can help with all aspects of estate planning, including wills.
Don’t wait to write your will. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC to start the estate planning process today.
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