A holographic will is a type of will that is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. While not recognized in all states, holographic wills are considered valid in some jurisdictions as long as specific requirements are met, such as the handwriting being identifiable as that of the testator and the will reflecting the testator’s intent. However, the lack of witnesses and formalities in the creation of a holographic will can lead to legal disputes after the testator’s death. In these cases, forensic document examiners play an important role in determining the handwriting on a holographic will was genuine or not.  


The Role of a Document Examiner

Forensic document examiners are experts in analyzing documents and verifying their authenticity. When it comes to holographic wills, their role is to determine whether the handwriting and signature on the will are genuinely that of the testator and to evaluate other aspects of the document.  This analysis can include examining the ink and paper characteristics.  


Expert Testimony

In estate disputes involving holographic wills, the expert testimony of a forensic document examiner can be important in determining the will’s validity or showing evidence it was not genuine. Their expertise can provide an objective evaluation of the will, helping to resolve disputes to ensure a fair distribution of assets according to the testator’s wishes.


In Conclusion

This examiner has noted many ways in which wills have been submitted to probate courts in a fabricated manner.  The decedent’s signature may be simulated, traced, or the result of a cut-and-paste transfer.  The terms of the will may be changed with a page substitution.  Entries, such as a date or dollar amount on a page, may be changed by overwriting or with the use of an obliterating fluid.  In contrast are the wills submitted that have evidence to support their genuineness.  Their features will include the natural, fluent signature of the decedent, the corresponding handwritten text to the known writing samples provided, the consistency of the paper used in the document, and so forth.


Disputing a Holographic Will? Use an Expert.

Forensic Document Examiner James A. Green has provided expert testimony in more than 150 cases in various State and Federal Courts and Canada. Mr. Green is Certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. He is an active member of the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences -Questioned Document Section, and the Southwest Association of Forensic Document Examiners. Click here to learn more about the expert witness services provided by Mr. Green, or call 888-485-0832, or send him an email.