Is a Holographic Will Legal in Texas?

By Beverly Bird

Various states have different requirements for accepting holographic or will that is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator. Some states do not accept them at all. Texas does and is more liberal than other states in what it requires to make the will valid. However, if you are going to write your will yourself, speak with an attorney first. Estate laws can be complex, so even if you get the requirements of the will right, you might be overlooking the impact of some other law that will negatively affect your estate and beneficiaries.

Uses

A holographic will can be useful in an emergency situation when you have little time to provide for your loved ones. In Texas, it is considered valid, even if you write it on the back of an envelope.

Requirements

Your holographic will must be entirely in your own handwriting and signed by you. It is not necessary to date it, but you can eliminate potential disputes later by doing so. Witnesses are not required. Just as with a typewritten will, you must be of sound mind, and not under duress, or unlawfully pressured into writing the will. You must be at least 18 years old unless you are married, were married or are an active member of the United States military or a member of the Maritime Service.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Precautionary Measures

After your death, when your loved ones present your holographic will for probate, one of them will have to appear in court and testify that the handwriting and the signature are both yours. You can avoid this requirement by attaching a sworn statement to your will, making the will “self-proved.” The statement can be done at any point after you make the holographic will and it, too, can be handwritten. Simply attest that the will is indeed yours, that you met all Texas’s requirements when you made it and that you have not revoked it since. Sign the statement and attach it to your will.

Drawbacks

You can save yourself a few dollars by handwriting your will, but if you do not have it reviewed by an attorney, you run the risk of costing your estate thousands of dollars later. If anything you write is ambiguous or unclear, court fees and attorney fees may later be necessary to clarify any issues. Even if you self-prove it, a disgruntled heir might try to contest it as being invalid. If you meet all the requirements, the heir probably won’t win his case, but defending against it could cost your beneficiaries a great deal of money.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Rules in Nebraska for Holographic Wills

References

Related articles

Can a Person Write Their Own Will & Then Have It Notarized?

In this age of technology, writing out a will by hand may not be the norm, but it is a perfectly acceptable alternative to typed or printed wills. The key to making an effective handwritten will is knowing your state laws regarding whether witnesses are required and, if so, how many.

How to Exclude People When Making a Will

Most states will not allow you to exclude your spouse from your will. According to the American Bar Association, this stems from the days when wives had no source of financial support except their husbands, and were left destitute without an inheritance. Some states, such as Louisiana and Florida, will not even allow you to disinherit your child. When you exclude anyone who would normally be an heir under your state’s law, it is considered “negative intent.” Consult an attorney to make sure you include the proper wording in your will to prevent your excluded heir from contesting it.

Can a Notarized Will Be Accepted as a Legal Document in North Carolina?

A will is a valid legal document in any state, provided that it meets the laws and qualifications of that jurisdiction. In North Carolina, requirements for legal wills appear in Chapter 31 of the state’s General Statutes. Your will does not have to be notarized for it to be a valid, legal document. Even if it is notarized, it may not be valid and legal unless it meets the state’s other requirements.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Is a Self Made Will Legal if Notarized?

A self-made will is legal if it meets your state's requirements for wills. All states have requirements that include ...

How to Write a Hand Written Will

When you write your last will and testament by hand, it’s called "holographic" in legal terms. Some states require ...

Holographic Wills in Colorado

Your will can name someone to manage your estate, dictate who should inherit your property and even nominate guardians ...

Are Homemade Wills Legal in Texas?

Texas does not require you to have an attorney draft your will, so you can write one yourself at home or complete one ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED