Legal Memorandum: Holographic Will in ME

Issue: What constitutes a holographic will in Maine?

Area of Law: Estate Planning & Probate
Keywords: Holographic will; Statutory will
Jurisdiction: Maine
Cited Cases: 147 So. 3d 1204; 102 S.W.3d 355
Cited Statutes: 18-A M.R.S.A. §§ 2-502; 18-A M.R.S.A. §§ 2-503; 18-A M.R.S.A. § 3-407; 95 C.J.S. Wills § 655
Date: 03/01/2015

The statutory requirements that distinguish a holographic will from a statutory will are outlined in 18-A M.R.S.A. §§ 2-502, -503.

The burden of establishing proof of proper execution rests with the proponent of a will, while the contestant has the burden to show lack of testamentary intent or capacity.  18-A M.R.S.A. § 3-407. 

Before a document may be admitted to probate as the last will and testament of the decedent, in addition to meeting all other legal requirements, there must be substantial evidence that the decedent intended the very document which is offered as his or her last will and testament to be such and to make the disposition by it of his or her property in favor of the party claiming thereunder.

95 C.J.S. Wills § 655 (citing In re Van Gilder’s Estate, 220 A.2d 21, 26 (Pa. 1966)).  “A paper is not established as a person’s will merely by proving that he intended to make a disposition of his property similar to or even identically the same as that contained in the paper.  It must satisfactorily appear that he intended the very paper to be his will.”  In re Successions of Lain, 147 So. 3d 1204, 1209-10 (La. App. 2 Cir. 2014) (citations omitted).  “A writing that merely evidences an intention to dispose of property is not a will.”  In re Estate of Schiwetz, 102 S.W.3d 355, 363 (Tex. App. 2003) (citing In re Estate of Graham, 69 S.W.3d 598, […]

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