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Are Handwritten Wills Valid in Massachusetts?

You may be wondering why a handwritten will, also known as a “holographic will,”  wouldn’t be valid; but when you really think about it, there are a lot of good reasons why that is so.  Many states don’t consider holographic wills valid, but Massachusetts isn’t one of them.  That’s right, in Massachusetts, your will may be handwritten.  According to the law, as long as your will is a written document, you were over the age of 18 and of sound mind when you wrote/signed it, and you had at least 2 witnesses who were also competent to sign your will, your will may be valid.  I say “may” and not “is” because there are a lot of other considerations beyond these basics.

For starters, think about all the other documents, like bank statements and official letters,  that you expect to be typed up.  Why?  For starters, these are documents you expect to be legible, and that’s much more likely to be true if they’re typed up.  It’s also true that a document that’s been typed up is more likely to have been thought out before it was printed and signed.  Your will is an important document, it dictates your wishes to those who are left behind when you pass.  Do you really want to risk it being invalid because your handwriting was messy?

The truth is that when it comes to writing a will, seeking the advice of an attorney comes highly recommended.  Even a will you’ve typed up yourself might not be entirely valid, or address everything you really need to consider.  An attorney can help not only with drafting the actual language contained in your will, but can help explain what a will should contain so you can be certain that your wishes will be carried out.  It may cost money now, but could save your friends and loved ones years in court fighting with the state or each other over a will that is unclear or invalid.

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