What is a holographic will under Tennessee law?

Posted on Feb 28 2013 11:16AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

A holographic will is one that is done in the handwriting of the testator.  There are three different types of wills under Tennessee law.


(1) Normal will with execution completed pursuant to T.C.A. § 32-1-104.

(2) Holographic will pursuant to T.C.A. § 32-1-105 (in handwriting of the testator)

(3) Nuncupative will pursuant to T.C.A. § 32-1-106 (will completed while in imminent peril of death)


Under Tennessee law a holographic will must comply with the specific requirements found in T.C.A. § 32-1-105 which provides as follows:


No witness to a holographic will is necessary, but the signature and all its material provisions must be in the handwriting of the testator and the testator's handwriting must be proved by two (2) witnesses.


As a result, for a holographic will to be valid it must have the signature of the testator.  Additionally, all of the material provisions in the will must be in the actual handwriting of the testator.  Further, the testator's handwriting in the holographic will must be proved to be the testator’s by two witnesses.  If these requirements are met than a holographic will will be valid under Tennessee law. 


It is still better to have a Tennessee attorney who is experienced in drafting wills handle the formation of the will documents.  There are many issues to consider when drafting a will and it is unlikely that a handwritten will by a testator will take into consideration important estate planning issues.

TAGS: Holographic Will, Nuncupative Will, Wills
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com