Can I write my own handwritten Last Will & Testament?

Written by Troy Moore

Probate & Personal Injury Trial Attorney in Houston, Texas.

November 26, 2019

In Texas, you can create an enforceable holographic Will. A holographic Will is one that is in your own handwriting. So, in Texas, you can write your own Will.

The best practice is to have an attorney create your Will. There are many unforeseen pitfalls that can occur while writing your own Last Will & Testament. However, Texas Estates Code Section 251.052 provides that a will written wholly in the testator’s handwriting is not required to be attested by subscribing witnesses.

Thus, one can write their own Last Will in their own handwriting, without the need for a notary or two other witnesses. But, a holographic Will is not considered self-proved under Texas law, and therefore, at the time the holographic Will is offered into evidence at a probate proceeding, two disinterested witnesses would be required to prove up the signature on the holographic Will.

You can turn a holographic Will into a self-proved Will rather simply. This makes proving up the Will in front of the probate court Judge far simpler. Specifically, Texas Estates Code Section 251.107 provides that “[n]otwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, a will written wholly in the testator’s handwriting may be made self-proved at any time during the testator’s lifetime by the attachment or annexation to the will of an affidavit by the testator to the effect that:

The instrument is the testator’s last will;
The testator was 18 years of age or older at the time the will was executed or, if the testator was younger than 18 years of age, that the testator:
was or had been married; or
was a member of the armed forces of the United States, an auxiliary of the armed forces of the United States, or the United States Maritime Service at the time the will was executed;

The testator was of sound mind; and
The testator has not revoked the will.
The statute referenced above is an ever-present reminder of the fundamental initial requirement of writing a Will in Texas. The individual writing the Will must be at least 18 years of age and be of sound mind.

If you are in need of legal services of a Houston probate attorney regarding estate planning in the Houston area, please contact our office or call 281-970-8039 for your initial consultation, free of charge.

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