Contrary to what you might think, no, a holographic will is not a device from a sci-fi film or novel, rather it is the term used for a will that was hand-written, not formally typed up. Laws vary by state, with about half the states in the United States, including Tennessee, allowing holographic wills to hold up in court. That is not to say that any document with a person’s wishes on them will work.

Like most documents used in courts, the will still needs to be written using certain language to make it legally-binding. This does not mean that a holographic will is destined to be ignored, it just means that some research or knowledge on writing wills is necessary to assure that it will be carried out properly and per the writer’s wishes.

A will is an important document in estate planning to assure that all the possessions assets and property that a person has earned over his or her life is properly given away to benefactors per their request. If no will is made, everything will go into probate and the courts will determine how everything is to be allocated. Creating a will, whether it is a holographic will or a standard will is also important to make things easier for a family upon the will-writer’s death.

Of course the last thing anyone would want to think about is their own death, but as we know, it is a reality. It is something “out of sight, out of mind,” meaning that is not something generally brought up in day to day life, so it may be treated with a low priority and more of a, “when I get to it,” type of chore. But you never know when a serious injury or illness could strike, so it is important to not delay too long in writing your will, whether it is a hand-written holographic will, or a standard will written up by a legal professional.

Source:, “Is a handwritten will valid?” Accessed July 11, 2017