28th May 2020

This blog post series on handwritten wills has explored the fact that witnesses are not required for a valid holographic will in Oklahoma. The last few posts have dug a little deeper into this issue, guided by three questions in a prior post.


A couple of posts (here and here) looked at the first question: why witnesses are required for standard, testamentary wills. In sum, witnesses make sure the right person signs the will, the event is serious and intentional, and that no bad or tricky things take place in the process.

Why Not?

This posts addresses the second of the three questions: if witnesses are necessary and helpful with most wills, why are witnesses likewise not necessary or helpful with holographic wills?

The logic of the law seems to be: examining a handwritten will can give many of the same protections that witnesses do. For example someone could make the argument:

-Examining a person’s handwriting identifies whether they wrote it or not.

-If a person is not of sound mind, it would come out in the way they wrote the document. It might be incoherent or confuse basic facts.

-The fact that is is labeled a will and is written out in detail and dated shows it was not just notes or something else; they meant it to be a will.

-Requiring witnesses, and possibly the additional language or rules that might need to be added on top, could actually discourage someone from completing a will and lead to people dying intestate.

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