Nebraska courts can find holographic wills to be enforceable but they should only be used when the formality surrounding a properly executed will cannot be followed.
Holographic wills can be considered valid in Nebraska courts. Despite the common requirements of a last will and testament prepared for the purposes of transferring assets that include the person making the will, referred to as the testator, to sign the document and have witnesses sign it who are present at the same time, and who personally witness either the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgment of the signature or of the will, handwritten wills (holographic) may be considered valid in court. According to Nebraska statute:
“An instrument which purports to be testamentary in nature but does not comply with section 30-2327 is valid as a holographic will, whether or not witnessed, if the signature, the material provisions, and an indication of the date of signing are in the handwriting of the testator and, in the absence of such indication of date, if such instrument is the only such instrument or contains no inconsistency with any like instrument or if such date is determinable from the contents of such instrument, from extrinsic circumstances, or from any other evidence.”
Nebraska estate planning lawyers can assist surviving loved ones and beneficiaries with the questions surrounding a holographic will document. The importance of a will is that it explains where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined in detail as they are very personal matters. Omaha estate planning lawyers guide clients to make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death according to Nebraska and federal laws.
A holographic will serves the same function as a formal typewritten will, naming executors and determining which assets go to which beneficiary, among other things. Holographic wills are far more open to a validity challenge than wills meeting the formal will signing requirements and they must still be processed through probate court administration. A holographic will needs to establish by some evidence that it is written in the handwriting of the testator. If a date is not present, then any inconsistency between the holographic will and the provisions of another dated will are decided in favor of the dated will. Holographic wills are only exempt from the signing requirements of a formal will.
Seek legal counsel
Nebraska courts can find holographic wills to be enforceable but they should only be used when the formality surrounding a properly executed will cannot be followed. Consultation with a lawyer is important to understand the distinction between formally written wills and holographic wills. It is best to hire estate planning lawyers to draft essential documentation to minimize legal challenges to a deceased’s estate. Consultation with tax lawyers is also a prudent decision so they can review estate planning documents and explain how tax burdens on the estate or beneficiaries will be managed.