A holographic will is hand-written but is not witnessed by anyone, explains Nolo. Anyone can create a holographic will by writing down his intentions for property inheritance and signing the paper. This type of will is valid in only about half of the United States, but some states that accept hand-written wills mandate they be dated. A holographic will must be entirely hand-written.
Holographic wills can be difficult to legally validate in probate court once the creator of the will passes away, according to Nolo. A will that is printed and signed by two witnesses is valid in all states because the witness can be called upon for testimony that the will is valid. Some states allow soldiers away at war to write a holographic will, but the will becomes invalid once the soldier returns home.
Probate courts tend to scrutinize holographic wills, sometimes finding it necessary to validate the person's handwriting to ensure the will reflects the intended wishes of the deceased, states Nolo. A handwritten note can be something the deceased signed under someone's influence or simply never intended to be carried out. A printed will is easy to create while offering the security of being legally enforceable with the signatures of two witnesses.