Can I Make a Testamentary Gift to
Someone Who Witnesses My Will?

by Rania Combs on August 1, 2011

A testamentary gift to a beneficiary who is also a witness is presumed void. The reasoning behind this rule is that a witness who will benefit from the will has a motive to lie.

There are, however, three exceptions to this rule:

  1. If the validity of the will can “be otherwise established”, for example by the testimony of another witness, then the gift will not be void.
  2. Despite having witnessed the will, an interested witness is entitled to receive a portion of the gift that does not exceed the amount to which he would have been entitled had the testator died intestate.
  3. Despite having witnessed the will, an interested witness is entitled to the full testamentary gift if his testimony is corroborated by a disinterested credible person.

To avoid any confusion, it is always best to have your will witnessed by two disinterested people who do not stand to gain financially from your will.

Return to Texas Wills and Trust Online home page →

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