Are you heading on a family vacation this summer?  If so, you may want to make sure that your estate plan is up to date and that someone knows where to find it.  Updating your estate plan (or creating one) does not mean that bad things will happen on your vacation, nor does it put a bad omen on your vacation. Its purpose is to help put your affairs in order and give you piece of mind.

If you are one of the many people who have put off creating an estate plan, it’s time to do something quick before your trip.  If you don’t have the time to invest in an entire estate plan before you leave for your vacation, you can instead write a Holographic Will, something that is easily done on your own, takes very little time, and could prove to be quite helpful if something should happen.

A Holographic Will is simply a document that is in your own handwriting, signed by you and is legally binding, even though it is not drafted by an attorney.  The requirements are simple – you must write it (must be in your handwriting, not typed on a computer) and you must sign and date it.  Please note that any typing in the will can invalidate the entire document!  Also, make sure that the will is solely yours – do not write a joint will with a spouse or anyone else.  Each person has his or her own will.  While a quickly written Holographic Will is not the ideal plan, as it leaves many specific questions unanswered, it is absolutely better than nothing.

In the Holographic Will, state your wishes with respect to the distribution of your property.  Most importantly, you can name guardians to take care of your minor children if something should happen to you.  When naming the guardians, also name secondary guardians who would take over if the primary guardians were either unavailable or unwilling to act.

If you do write your own Holographic Will, make sure that someone knows that you have written it and where they could find it if it should be needed.  When you return from vacation, contact an estate planning attorney and take the time to create a complete estate plan to fully protect your family.

Tune in to next month’s article to learn even more about estate planning.  If you have any questions you would like specifically addressed, please email them to Shirley@ShirleyWhiteLaw.com

By Shirley M. White, Esq.www.ShirleyWhiteLaw.com