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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1013434
 
 

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In Their Own Hand: An Analysis of Holographic Wills and Homemade Willmaking


Stephen Clowney


University of Kentucky - College of Law


Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Journal, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Holographic wills - wills that are handwritten and unwitnessed - are traditionally thought of as a risky, do it yourself brand of estate planning. In the author's view, this is wrong. Using two years' of probate records from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this Article demonstrates that holographs are an indispensable tool for testators who are either unwilling or unable to commission a traditional will. Homemade testaments provide a low-cost alternative to intestacy, improve the overall quantity of will-making, function as a safety-net for testators who fall suddenly ill, and rarely result in litigation. The triumph of holographic wills also suggests, strongly, that state legislatures should consider reducing the number of requirements necessary to create a formal, attorney-authored will.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Holographic Wills, Trusts & Estates, Homemade Wills, Testation, Formalism, Attestation

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Date posted: January 15, 2008 ; Last revised: February 6, 2008

Suggested Citation

Clowney, Stephen, In Their Own Hand: An Analysis of Holographic Wills and Homemade Willmaking. Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1013434

Contact Information

Stephen Clowney (Contact Author)
University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )
620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States
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