The status of oral and handwritten wills in Ohio

by | Apr 17, 2019 | estate planning, Firm News

A will is an important legal document that is often included in the estate plan of a Dublin resident. A will must meet certain requirements in order to be valid and if it does not meet those mandates it may not be recognized as controlling when a person passes away. Generally, a will must be made by some who is an adult, who is of sound mind, who was not forced into make their will and the will must be signed by its creator and two other witnesses.

In some circumstances, however, a person may not have an opportunity to execute a fully compliant will before their passing. For example, when illness takes a person’s life and they do not have time to formalize their testamentary intentions in writing, they may speak their will to others. An oral will, also known as a nuncupative will, may be valid if the individuals who hear the testator speak their will write down the testator’s intentions within 10 days of hearing them and can prove that the testator was of sound mind.

A handwritten will may be considered valid if its signing is witnessed by two individuals who also sign it to validate it. Handwritten wills are sometimes referred to as “holographic” wills.

It is important that wills are drafted with care and attention to the needs and wishes of their creators. Wills that are ambiguous and that do not meet the state’s statutory requirements may be considered invalid or otherwise subject to challenges when they are probated. It can be advisable for individuals who wish to draft new wills to get more information about estate planning law.