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Is a Handwritten Will Legal in Texas?

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A handwritten Will, also known as a “holographic Will,” is not valid or recognized in every state. Laws regarding estate planning, final wishes, and dissemination of property after someone passes are set in place by locality; often, a state or county may have different laws than neighboring areas.

The way a Will is written and its determining validity in the court in which the decedent resided can go a long way to deciding how effective and reasonable the probate process is and whether or not it will be a giant headache for the family left behind.

So, if a loved one has left behind a Will, written by hand and not typed, is that a valid interpretation of the deceased’s last wishes?

Are Holographic or Handwritten Wills Valid in Texas?

The short answer is yes, a handwritten, holographic Will is valid in Texas. In fact, if the Will is properly notarized and satisfies all of the state’s requirements of being called a Will, a handwritten or holographic Will is just as effective as one that has been typed.

What Are the Requirements of Holographic Wills to Ensure Validity in Texas?

A Texas court Will honor a holographic Will so long as its creation meets the legal requirements put forth by the State. Those validity requirements are as follows:

  • The testator (owner of the estate) writes the Will in its entirety.
  • The testator provides a valid signature on the Will.
  • It is determined that, at the time of the Will’s creation, the testator has testamentary capacity and intent.

What is Testamentary Capacity and Intent?

In movies or television, perhaps you’ve seen spurned family members throw the legitimacy of a Will into question based on its creator being “not of sound mind or body.” Those that would challenge the legality of the Will in that piece of media are questioning the creator’s testamentary capacity and intent, which is determining that the following is true of the testator:

  • They understand that they are, in fact, creating a last or living Will;
  • They understand the effect of making such a Will;
  • They are aware of what property they own and can Will to their beneficiaries;
  • They can identify family members and;
  • They can mentally process they are creating a Will and can form a judgment about it that can be considered reasonable.

Who Can Help Me With a Holographic Will?

The lawyers at Rainey & Rainey, Attorneys at Law, LP, would be happy to help with the legitimacy of a handwritten or holographic Will. If you need to ensure that you leave behind a holographic Will that the court in Texas will recognize, are concerned that a handwritten Will of a deceased family member is not valid, or would like to defend the validity of a holographic Will against a challenge; our experienced lawyers can do any of the above. Contact us today at (254) 457-5083.

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