Rules in Nebraska for Holographic Wills

By Beverly Bird

Nebraska is one of 26 states as of 2009 that accept holographic wills if they meet certain requirements. A holographic will is one handwritten by the testator, or the person who is making it. If you handwrite your will, it may be to your advantage to have an attorney look it over to make sure it achieves everything you intend so that the probate court will not have problems interpreting it after your death.


Your entire will must be in your handwriting in Nebraska for all of it to be valid. If there are any printed or typewritten portions, those portions will be ignored under Section 30-2328 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.


Your will must be signed by you. If you handwrite all your provisions, then forget to sign it, your will is not legal. Since 1998, however, Nebraska has a provision that if you write only your initials, it's considered as valid as signing your entire name.

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Holographic wills do not have to be witnessed in Nebraska. However, if you do have yours signed by witnesses, it will not invalidate it and might possibly lend it credibility if anyone tries to dispute it.


The dating of your holographic will is the vaguest of Nebraska’s requirements. Ideally, you should include the entire date in your handwriting. Since 1993, however, if you write only the month and the year, that is accepted as enough. If you neglect to date your will, this might not invalidate it if you have no other will or if the terms of your holographic will are reasonably similar to another will you have made. Another possibility accepted by Nebraska is that the contents of the will can establish the date. For instance, if your will bequeaths a car that you owned in 2009 but not in 2010, then Nebraska will infer that you made your will in 2009. Section 30-2328 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes also allows “extrinsic circumstances” or “other evidence” to determine a date, but, of course, the best thing to do is make sure you date your will in the first place.

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Are Holographic Wills Legal in Illinois?

The general definition of a holographic will is that it is written by hand and is not witnessed. Different states have varying requirements for accepting these, and some do not accept them at all. In Illinois, the legality of a holographic will depends not on the handwriting but on the witnesses.

Are Handwritten Wills Legal in South Carolina?

In many states, handwritten, or holographic, wills are either not legal, or accepted only if they meet certain requirements. In South Carolina, Title 62 Section 2 of the state’s legislative code leaves a gray area. If you make a handwritten will in South Carolina, it is not legal; however, if you make the will in one of the 24 states that do recognize handwritten wills, then you move to South Carolina, in most cases, it is valid.

North Carolina Laws Regarding Wills

Every state has its own specific statutes when it comes to wills. A will that doesn’t comply with North Carolina’s laws is generally void, and North Carolina will dispose of your property according to rules of inheritance, giving it to your most immediate kin regardless of your intentions. If you write your own will, it is always advisable to use an attorney to review it before you assume it to be valid, according to North Carolina’s statutes.

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