Often called a “holographic will,” a will that the estate’s owner handwrites is not always considered a valid legal document. While the laws around estate planning, final wishes, asset, and property dissemination often vary by localities, it is difficult to understand what is legal in your area. So, are handwritten wills legal documents in the State of Texas?
What Constitutes the Validity of a Handwritten Will in Texas?
Holographic or handwritten wills are legal in Texas. Any documentation that meets the following criteria is considered to satisfy all of the State of Texas’s requirements for being called a valid will:
- The will’s testator (the person who owns the estate at the time of the will’s creation) is the person who has written the will in its entirety.
- A valid signature of the testator is provided on the will.
- The will is properly notarized.
- The testator was of sound mind and body and had testamentary capacity and intent at the time the testator created the will.
What Qualifies Testamentary Capacity and Intent While a Will is Being Created?
Testamentary Capacity, paired with the legal “intent” to create a will, is required at the time of the documentation’s creation. Possessing Testamentary Capacity and Intent, in the eyes of the Texas courtroom, means that:
- The person is aware they are making a last or living will,
- The person understands the effect of such an act,
- The person is familiar with their property in full and can will the assets to their beneficiaries,
- The person can correctly identify family members,
- The person can mentally process their will and form a reasonable judgment about the document’s *creation.
Is it a Good Idea to Hand-Write a Holographic Will?
There are several problems with leaving your estate to its beneficiaries through the means of a handwritten or holographic will. For one, the testator may not know all of the Texas laws that would make their holographic will valid. Second, having a handwritten will allows beneficiaries, heirs, or the spurned version of either, to call its validity into question more easily.
Any delays in proving the will’s ultimate legality mean long delays in the estate process, straining personal and professional relationships. It is best to settle your affairs with a thorough will, drafted by an experienced attorney, that executes your wishes comprehensively.
Why Do I Need an Attorney to Draft My Will?
You may write a will or perform the process of probate without the presence of an attorney. This can be a good plan of attack for small estates. The more complicated an estate, however, the more the need for an experienced attorney rises. Call 817-285-2855 and schedule an initial appointment with us today.