A handwritten will is valid in North Carolina if it meets the following criteria:
1. The will is written entirely in the testator’s hand- This means that the entire document needs to be written by the same person, and that person is the one giving away their assets.
2. The will must be signed by the testator- The will can be written, but it is invalid unless the testator also signed the will.
3. The will is kept in a safe place- This is always an interesting area because what is considered a safe place? A safe place would be where that person would keep their valuables such as important documents, money, or other valuables. Most people should use a safe of a safe deposit box, however that isn’t always the case. One case that went to court determined that a will kept in someone’s freezer was considered a safe place because that was where she kept other valuables such as cash and the deed to her house.
If you decide to probate the will, which means to distribute the estate, then in order for the handwritten will to be valid three witnesses will have to testify to the validity of the handwriting in the will. Also, one person will have to testify that the will was found in a safe place.
Handwritten wills are easily disputed, so obtaining a legal will written by a lawyer is the best way to ensure proper distribution of your assets.