20th Aug 2019

In the last post we looked at the basic rule for a valid handwritten or “holographic” will in Oklahoma. The first requirement is that it must be “entirely written . . . by the hand of the testator himself,” as the statute states it. Said another way, it must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting.

This post is titled: “Entirely in the TESTATOR’S Handwriting.” This emphasis is given to make this important point. Not only must the will be handwritten entirely; it must be the handwriting of the testator.

Recent developments in the Aretha Franlkin Estate emphasize this aspect of holographic wills. It is reported that the Judge has allowed a handwriting expert examine documents which are potentially handwritten wills by Mrs. Franklin. (See prior posts here and here for a very basic overview of how it got to this point.)

At least one main purpose of handwriting analysis is to make sure the document was written by the testator, in this case Aretha Franklin.

Why is that important? Surely part of it is to make sure there is no fraud or other trickery going on.

But one huge issue is that a holograpic will (under OK law at least) must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting. For instance, another person cannot write it out in that persons’s handwriting and then have the testator sign it. This would include for thousands of “good” reasons: the testator was ill or otherwise could not write it, the other person was trying to be helpful, the testator asked the other person to write it for them, the other person had better penmanship, etc. A holographic will must be in entirely in the testator’s writing – alone.

This is further important because many handwritten documents would not otherwise qualify as a will if they do not meet the holographic will requirements.

The next post will look at another aspect of the handwriting requirements.

If our office may be of assistance to you in these areas, do not hesitate to contact us at (580) 686-4360 or at coryhicks@fieldandhicks.com or using any of our contact information in the profile. You can also visit www.fieldandhicks.com for more information.

This blog contains general information and the opinions of the author – not legal advice; you should seek the advice of competent counsel (attorney/lawyer) when considering any legal issues.

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