Is a handwritten Will legal?

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Is a handwritten Will legal?

A week before his death, my father left a handwritten Will. It was signed by him and witnessed by 2 people. My dad wanted to make sure that his lifemate would receive all money and property. Well, 4 days after his death, my siblings raided it all. His mate has nothing. They were not married but he made me promise that his wishes would be carried out. Is there anyway to make my siblings pay restitution to his life companion? She took care of him until his last dying breath. Do I need to file his Will in a court or take it to an attorney? They tore down his home in 4 days so she could not live on the property. What do I do?

Asked on January 7, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Texas recognizes a handwritten or "holographic" Wills as a valid.  As long as it is entirely written by the testator I.e. maker of the Will).  Additionally, it should be noted that it is not required to be witnessed. Such a Will may be proven by the testator attaching an affidavit stating that the written instrument is their last Will, that they were competent to make the Will, and that the Will has not been revoked. If the testator does not self-prove the Will, then at the time of death it must be proved by the testimony of 2 witnesses as to the handwriting of the testator. 

So it appears that your father made a valid Will, and, that your father's lifemate was entitled to your father's estate.  The Will needs to be submitted to the local probate court, but first you should directly contact a probate attorney in the area to help you handle this situation. It's going to get complicated. 


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