Your Last Will and Testament contains your final wishes about your family, funds, properties, last rites and whatever else you would like to say to your loved ones and others. If it is handwritten, it is called a Holographic Will. If typewritten, it is known as a Notarial Will in the Philippines, or simply a Typewritten Will in other countries and states, which we will discuss in another post.
Under Philippine law, you can handwrite your Will without needing any witness, and without appearing before a notary public. As a Filipino, you may write your Holographic Will in another country as long as you follow the requirements of Philippine law. These are:
a. Your entire Will must be in your own handwriting;
b. It should be in a language that you truly know and understand;
c. You must put a date on it;
d. You must sign it at the end.
e. If there are alterations, you must put your full signature on the altered portions.
It is also best to number each paragraph, and to write the page number on every page, although these are not required for the validity of a Holographic Will.
If you change your entire Will and replace it with a new one, the best thing is to burn or tear up the old one. This is because under Philippine law, this is a clear way of expressing your intention to revoke the old Will. It is also best to state in your present Will that you are revoking your prior Will. If you do not do this, your old Will may still be considered valid and its contents be proven in court later on. This might just lead to confusion.
If you are not a Philippine citizen and you'd like to execute a Holographic Will, I advise you to consult legal counsel to make sure that it is allowed in your jurisdiction, and to know what the requirements are.
This discussion is about the form of a Last Will. Legally, we refer to this as "formal validity." You should be concerned about another matter, which we call "intrinsic validity" of the contents of your Will. There are specific legal requirements about this, so I would highly suggest that you consult legal counsel to make sure that the dispositions in your Will are valid.
Till next time!