Is A Handwritten Will Legal And Enforceable In Texas?
A handwritten will is called a holographic will, and it is legal even if there are no witnesses. There are a lot of drawbacks to them, however. Often, people don’t include a residuary clause, which means that even if you specifically list out all of your assets, you have created a partially intestate estate. We’ve got to probate the will and we’ve also got to open up another intestate probate, even though you’ve taken care of all the assets. Another thing people fail to do is waive bond. We wind up having to pay thousands of dollars to put up a bond for the estate.
Oftentimes, in holographic wills, people fail to say the legal words that you need to set up an independent administration. In Texas, you need to include the words “independent executor” and you need to nominate that person. If you don’t, then you are at risk of going through a dependent administration, which will mean you have to come back into court multiple times. Holographic will usually wind up costing families more than if they not written a will at all.
On What Premise Can I Contest A Will?
There are only a few routes for contesting a will. The most popular one is undue influence, which means a child or someone close to the testator exercised undue influence over them. The person contesting the will wants to set the will aside because, had that other person not exercised undue influence over the testator, the testator would have never written the will. Another one I commonly see is that the testator lacked mental capacity, which means that they had dementia or other issues and they didn’t know what they were doing. Another ground is a fraud. Sometimes, people forge wills. You can also claim that there is a mistake in the will or that the will had been revoked.
Can I Contest A Will With A No Contest Clause?
A no contest clause is usually an empty threat. Judges are very reluctant to enforce them because perhaps there was undue influence or perhaps the testator lacked the mental capacity when they wrote the will. As public policy, the state of Texas says that if you contest a will in good faith and there is just cause, a no contest clause is invalid.
For more information on Handwritten/Holographic Wills in Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (512) 851-1248 today.