Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Handwritten Wills

Question: Does Maryland recognize handwritten Wills? Answer: The question of whether a Maryland court will recognize a handwritten Will comes up from time to time. The technical legal word for a handwritten Will is a ‘holographic” will. A number of states do recognize holographic Wills (Virginia, California and New Jersey to name a few). Maryland, however, is not one of them. Maryland courts will not typically allow a holographic Will to be admitted to probate. If one attempts to admit the handwritten Will to probate, it will generally be rejected and therefore the laws of intestacy will be applied. Comment: There is an exception in Maryland for military personnel while on deployment. Maryland will allow a holographic Will to be admitted to probate if it is handwritten by a member of the armed forces while on active duty in a foreign country. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.


Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can connect with Offit Kurman via our BlogFacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn pages.  You can also sign up to received Law Matters, Offit Kurman’s monthly newsletter covering a diverse selection of legal and corporate thought leadership content.