Yes, handwritten wills are valid in Texas, if done correctly. A handwritten will is called a “holographic will.” I should note, though, that I absolutely recommend that you find a wills lawyer to draft a properly executed will for you.
You should find a wills attorney because, even though a handwritten will may be legally recognized, it won’t involve any of the estate planning that an attorney provides. A will should do much more than tell loved ones where you want your property to go; it should also name your executor, set bond, set out whether or not you want independent administration of your estate, how you want debts paid, etc. The list goes on and on. Plus, an estate planning lawyer will draft all your other important estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney, physician’s directives, trusts, and others.
Long story short, even though a handwritten will is easier and cheaper for you, it’s NOT easier and cheaper for your loved ones. In the long run, dying without a will or dying with a handwritten will may cost more money than dying with a will drafted by an attorney. There will most likely be more work, stress, time wasted, and frustration for your loved ones in the future if you don’t get an attorney to draft a will for you. When you pass away, they’ll be going through emotional stress already—do your best to make it easy for your loved ones.
So, now that I’ve described how important a “real will” by an attorney is, I bet you’re thinking that I’m about to tell you not to waste your time with a holographic will. Nope. A valid holographic will is better than nothing. I recommend that you create a holographic will until you hire an estate planning attorney to draft a traditional will for you.
Here’s how to create a valid Texas handwritten will:
- it needs to be COMPLETELY in your handwriting. None of it can be typed or written by someone else.
- you must sign it, and I recommend that you also date it
- make sure to account for all your property, and include a statement that you want “all the rest and residue of my estate to go to ________________.” This statement accounts for all the property you didn’t think of and property you acquire after you make the will
- name who you’d like to serve as executor of your estate
- write in the will that it is your “Last Will and Testament”
- Attach a separate piece of paper (an “affidavit”), and write on it that you were of “sound mind” when you signed the will, that you were at least eighteen years old when you signed the will, and that you have not revoked the will that is attached and dated __________
If you want to read more about handwritten Texas wills, read sections 60 and 84 of the Texas Probate Code. When you’re ready to have an attorney draft a will for you, hire an attorney that routinely drafts wills, such as Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Visit http://www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information.
Isaac Shutt is the Attorney/Owner at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Visit http://www.shuttlawfirm.com or email email@example.com. You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter. Phone-calls and quick e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson probate lawyer, Richardson wills lawyer, Richardson estate planning attorney, or Richardson guardianship lawyer.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this blog post constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney. Further, nothing in this blog shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until you sign an engagement letter with the Firm.