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Is an Oral Will (Nuncupative Will) Legally Valid in Texas?

In 2017, our state’s laws were changed to require all wills to be in writing. While some states still allow nuncupative wills (oral/verbal wills) in certain situations, they are not an option in Texas. This does not mean, however, the process to get a legally valid will is more difficult. In this article, our San Antonio will planning attorneys provide a more detailed overview of Texas law and explain how you and your family can benefit from the protection offered by a professionally prepared estate plan in Texas.

2017 Legislative Reforms: Oral Wills No Longer Valid in Texas

As a general rule, oral/verbal wills are barred in most U.S. states. However, some still have a limited exception for so-called “deathbed” wills. As an example, our neighbor to the north, Oklahoma, permits “deathbed” oral wills in limited circumstances. In Oklahoma (and several other states), a person can make a verbal will on their deathbed.

Texas used to have a deathbed exception that allowed oral wills to be valid in narrow circumstances. However, legislative reforms were passed in 2017. As of September 1st, 2017, oral wills are no longer accepted in Texas—regardless of the context. Under Texas law (Texas Estates Code § 251.051), a will must be in writing and signed by the testator. Working with our experienced San Antonio will planning lawyer can help ease the process and ensure you include all necessary information.

A Handwritten Will May Be Valid—But Can Create Challenges

Although oral wills are never valid in Texas, a handwritten will may be accepted as valid. To be considered legally enforceable by a Texas probate court, a handwritten (holographic) will must be written entirely by the testator and must be signed/dated. Handwritten wills are often not advisable. A non-professionally drafted will is more likely to result in conflict.

Plan Ahead: A Professionally Drafted Will Protects Your Loved Ones

Every adult in Texas can benefit from a professionally-crafted estate plan. Even a relatively simple estate plan can go a long way towards protecting the best interests of you and your family. A will is a foundational document in most estate plans. Some of the key benefits of a will include:

● Provision of clear, streamlined instructions for your friends and family members;
● Protection of the inheritance of your beneficiaries; and
● Planning for certain costs, including funeral, burial, and taxes.

The experienced San Antonio estate planning attorneys at our firm can help you draft a will that is clear, concise, legally valid, and that effectively carries out your last wishes. Beyond a will, we will also help you put all of the other estate planning documents in place to achieve maximum protection.

Call Our San Antonio Will Planning Lawyers for Immediate Help

At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, our San Antonio estate planning lawyers have the skills and expertise to help you with the full range of will planning issues. Contact our law firm today to set up your no-cost, fully confidential initial consultation. We provide will planning services throughout the region, including in San Antonio, Bexar County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, and communities beyond.