Holla What? A Holographic Will


Holographic Will describes a will that is totally in the handwriting of the maker of the will.

An instrument written by hand (holographic) can be considered a will. In Texas, in order for the holographic will to be considered valid it must

  • be totally in the hand of the person writing it; and
  • be signed by them as well.

There is no need for the will to state “Last Will and Testament” as the form and the language used by the writer is not of great importance. The will can be written on hotel stationary, a paper bag, a wall or even the fender of a truck. Also note that the holographic will does not need to be dated. What matters most is the intent of the writer. Did they intend for the document to serve as their will.

There are many interesting holographic wills that held up under Court scrutiny and were determined to be valid stated last intentions of the departed. The following is one of the most well know or should I say talked about.

Cecil George Harris is being remembered for writing one of the most unique wills in history. In 1948, Harris was trapped underneath a tractor for ten hours during a storm. With a pocketknife, he carved the following words into the fender: “In case I die in this mess, I leave all to the wife.” Later that night, Harris was rescued and taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

The tractor will has been displayed in the University of Saskatchewan’s Law Library. Bob Hannay is the only living survivor of the rescue mission and recalls his role in the effort, “My part in it was just to drive the tractor up there and pull the implement back so they could get the fellow out.”

In 2016, the University of Saskatchewan celebrated the 65th anniversary remembering the unique will.

See Bre McAdam, Unique Will Written on Tractor Celebrated, The Chronicle Journal, Oct. 25, 2013.

Photo: https://news.usask.ca/archived_ocn/09-jan-23/see_what_we_found.php