Texas law recognizes both formal and holographic wills. You usually need an attorney’s help when drafting a formal will, along with witnesses, to make it valid. This process can be tedious and complex, making the holographic option more popular.
You can draft this option alone without legal counsel. However, it is often challenging to enforce because holographic wills require more evidence to prove you wrote it. Sometimes, it might lose its validity, especially if no one can testify that it is authentic. With no witnesses, anyone might challenge the will and question its validity, more so if it lacks crucial details.
If you plan to write a holographic will, you should consider including the following essentials:
- Meet the general qualifications in Texas. A valid will must have an eligible testator. Aside from meeting the age requirement, you should also be of sound mind, meaning you must know what your assets are, express that you understand what you are doing and convey that your will establishes your estate’s distribution after death.
- Use the proper format, including a title, opening line and instructions regarding your estate. Remember that a will must contain specific details, such as the date and the location of where you wrote it. Instructions regarding property distribution should also be clear and descriptive.
- Revoke previous wills that may also be legally binding. Past wills might hold validity if you do not revoke them.
- Add instructions about properties you cannot remember before signing it. This part is called a residuary clause, which applies to aspects of the estate left out from the initial instructions. Once done, you can sign the last page, indicating the date.
After drafting the will, you could secure it with multiple staples if it has more than one page.
Avoiding complications with an estate plan
Other factors could affect its validity even if you complete your holographic will. Aside from letting family members know about it, you must also give an original copy to the probate court. Missing even the tiniest detail could impact its enforceability. You could consult a lawyer about creating an estate plan that might work better, involving other tools that might be more beneficial considering your assets and preferences.