Deathbed Will

A death bed will is a last will and testament (“will”) which is made and executed in the contemplation of the testator’s death, usually while the testator is confined to the bed.  The testator is the individual who is making the will.

Last Will and Testament

Frequently, since circumstances do not allow for the testator to utilize a computer and printer, a death bed will is handwritten.  This handwritten will is also known as a “Holographic Will.”  The holographic will is not recognized in all jurisdictions.  Nevertheless, when a jurisdiction recognizes the holographic will, certain elements must be fulfilled. Initially, there must be evidence that the will was in fact the testator’s own will.  This may be supplied by handwriting comparison or analysis.  Moreover, there must be a demonstration that the testator’s intended to make a will.  This intention could be indicated simply by the statement of “I make this as my last will and testament,” or by the statement “this is my will.” Furthermore, the holographic will must have an expression of the testator’s intention to leave his or her property and assets to beneficiaries.

Legality of Death Bed Wills

Death bed wills are usually handwritten.  Not all jurisdictions recognize handwritten wills; thus, it is crucial to ascertain what the applicable law is in your jurisdiction or else there may be a will contest. An experienced estate planning attorney can help to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled by drafting a will which conforms to the law of the particular jurisdiction.