This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
By statute in a number of states, "holographic" wills, that is, wills entirely written by testator himself, are valid, though not executed in accordance with the ordinary statutory requirements, if signed by him, and if, in two states at least, found among the valuable papers and effects of deceased, or entrusted by him to another for safe keeping.15
"Nuncupative" wills, that is, wills consisting of merely oral declarations by testator in the presence of witnesses, were allowed before the passage of the Statute of Frauds, but by that statute the right to make them was much restricted, the amount of property which could be so disposed of being greatly limited, and it also being provided that they could be made only in the last sickness of deceased, before three witnesses, and usually in his own habitation. In this country there are usually statutory provisions of a somewhat similar character, providing especially, however, for the making of such wills by soldiers in actual military service, and by mariners at sea. The law of nuncupative wills never applied in England to real property, in the absence of a local custom to the contrary, since, before the Statute of Wills, such property could not be devised, and since, by the terms of that statute, as well as by the Statute of Frauds, a will of lands was required to be " in writing." The statutes on the subject in this country usually restrict such wills to personal property.16