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Can I handwrite my own Will?

Yes, you can handwrite your own Will, but I would not recommend it. While simple in theory, handwritten Wills often are fraught with mistakes that can cause confusion that defeats the purpose. In worst case scenarios, a handwritten Will can be contested and ruled invalid and unenforceable by the Court.

Handwritten Wills are called holographic Wills by the Court. In order for a handwritten Will to be valid in Tennessee the ENTIRE document must be in your handwriting. If any material provision is typed or in another person’s handwriting, then the Will is not valid. What about the Will form you found on-line, that’s valid, right? Not necessarily. On-line forms are the source of a lot of Will contests because people often simply write in the blanks and don’t properly execute the document. Even if you handwrite the Will correctly, the law in Tennessee still requires two persons to testify under oath that the handwriting is in fact your handwriting.

While in many cases your loved ones will still follow the obvious intent spelled out by your Will, even if its not done properly, it only takes one person who does not agree with the Will to cause problems for everyone. Expensive problems. Remember, you won’t be around to correct any mistakes or clarify any confusing provisions so I recommend that you save your loved ones the heartache and expense of a Will contest and consult an established estate planning attorney to make sure your Will meets all the requirements in your state. Many people think they cannot afford an attorney to write a Will for them, but can you really afford not to?


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