Holographic Will Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Holographic Will, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Holographic Will?

(n) Holographic Will is the hand written document prepared by a person without authenticating it by a witness while signing the document as the will of the person to deal his estates. Holographic Wills are generally accepted by the courts unless proving the contrary

History and Meaning of Holographic Will

A holographic will is a handwritten, unwitnessed will that is valid in some jurisdictions. It is also known as an olographic or holograph will. Unlike standard wills, a holographic will needs no witnesses to be considered legal. This type of will can be made quickly and easily, but it can be subject to misinterpretation, ambiguous language, and legal challenges.

The term Holographic Will comes from French law, which originally used the word “olographic.” The first instance of Holographic Wills being recognized as a legal document occurred in the early 1800s, in Louisiana. When the testator wishes to make a Holographic Will, he or she must handwrite the document. The main advantage of using a Holographic Will is that it eliminates any need for witnesses during the signing.

Examples of Holographic Will

Here are a few situations in which a Holographic Will may be used:

  • A person becomes stranded on a deserted island with no access to legal counsel or witnesses. They prepare and handwrite a will that satisfies the legal requirements for a Holographic Will.
  • Someone who is terminally ill and has little time to live could prepare a will at home, in which all elements of the document are handwritten.
  • A soldier who is going off to war may make a Holographic Will instead of obtaining witnesses at a military base or leaving a traditional will with a lawyer.
  • A person may choose to make a Holographic Will because they prefer the intimacy of writing their own last will and testament.

Legal Terms Similar to Holographic Will

  • Standard Will: A legal document that sets out a person's wishes as to how their property will be distributed after their death.
  • Codicil: An addition, update, or alteration to an existing will.
  • Probate: The legal procedure for establishing the validity of a will before a court of law.