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What constitutes a valid will in the state of Texas?

There are three types of wills recognized as valid by the state of Texas, and all have two mutual requirements. The testator must be at least 18-years-old, and he or she must be deemed to have a sound mind. This means that a general, valid will is based on the wishes of a party who is operating at full mental capacity and is fully aware of and capable of making such decisions. The age requirement does not apply if the testator is legally married or if he or she is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, there are a few differing requirements among other types of wills.

In addition to the mutual requirements mentioned above, an oral will, also known as a nuncupative will, requires that the testator make such bequeaths at his or her residence or other place resided at for at least 10 days prior. An exception to this rule is when the testator has fallen ill and has been taken away from the residence, such as to a hospital where he or she dies.

In this case, an oral will can be made at that location. If the value of the estate as a whole is more than $30, the oral will must be witnessed by at least three parties who can testify that the decision was made by the party and in sound mind.

The state of Texas also recognized what is known as a holographic will. These are simply wills, which are written out completely in the testator’s handwriting. It does not require a witness, and can be considered a self-proving will if an affidavit is attached.

An estate attorney can offer guidance in preparing a valid will, as well as locating and contacting witnesses to testify in situations where the validity of a will is questioned.