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What are the witness requirements for a Texas will?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Wills |

A will is a legal document that communicates someone’s wishes about their estate to others. Wills can guide the Texas probate courts and the family members of an individual when arranging for their memorial service, caring for their dependents and distributing their property.

Wills play a key role in protecting vulnerable family members after someone dies and in controlling the legacy that an individual leaves after their passing. Wills perform a very important legal function and, therefore, state law regulates them. A will has to meet certain statutory requirements in order to be a binding and legal testamentary instrument. One of the rules established by the state is a requirement for witnesses.

Notaries aren’t always necessary

Many people considering estate planning often rush to the conclusion that they need a notary to stamp their will for it to be valid. Notaries are agents authorized by the state to authenticate someone’s identity and validate any documents they sign.

While notarization can help authenticate the validity of a document, it is not strictly necessary for a valid and enforceable will in Texas. Instead, the will requires the signature of the testator who drafted the documents and also the signatures of two other witnesses. The witnesses either need to be present when someone signs the document or hear them attesting to previously signing the documents.

Texas is less strict than many other states regarding the witnesses who can attest to the validity of a will. The witnesses do not need to be 18 years of age. Instead, they only need to be at least 14 years old. Additionally, they cannot be beneficiaries of the estate. This helps prevent a conflict of interest in which witnesses might have a reason to lie about the testator’s mental state or identity.

Having appropriate witness signatures is only one of many requirements that a will must meet for it to fulfill its purpose during a state administration. Those hoping to protect their loved ones and leave a legacy may want to obtain professional assistance when drafting their wills to avoid mistakes. Complying with Texas state law is a key element of establishing a valid estate plan.


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