If you do not own many assets or property, it may seem like a good idea to simply handwrite a will to specify who gets what. While this may appear to be an easy way to plan your affairs, it may end up causing more of a headache for your beneficiaries after your passing. We understand which types of estate planning tools make probate less complicated for your heirs.

Also known as a holographic will, a testator may write and sign a handwritten will to leave behind. These holographic wills are legal in 26 states, including Tennessee. Because a holographic will is more difficult to prove the legitimacy of, however, it can extend the amount of time that your assets go through probate. This can make passing on assets to your beneficiaries much more complicated and lengthy than you intended.

According to the Tennessee Probate Guide, a holographic will written after February 15, 1941, will need to have the signature of the deceased proved by no less than two witnesses. The courts must locate the witnesses and then serve notice that they must testify to the legitimacy of the decedent’s signature. If there are no witnesses present on the holographic will, the courts will issue subpoenas for relatives or friends of the decedent to provide testimony.

As you can imagine, this process can take quite a bit of time and create an undue hardship for an already grieving family. While a holographic will is certainly the easiest to produce, it may not be the best option if you would like your assets to pass quickly to your beneficiaries. You can find more information regarding estate planning and probate on our website.