Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gavel to Gavel: Substantial Compliance?

Some states will admit a holographic will, entirely in the testator’s own handwriting and signed by the testator. Holographic wills do not require witness signatures.

Absent a holograph, most states require that wills must comply with formalities of execution. In Oklahoma, this includes the signatures of the testator and two witnesses.

In 2008, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered that Shirley Speers’ will should not be admitted to probate. Without a self-proving clause, the will’s proponent must produce testimony of at least one of the witnesses and prove that the second witness’s signature is genuine or that the second witness is unavailable for testimony. The court was unsatisfied with the proof offered at trial, which included the testimony of only one of the two witnesses.

Read more: