Someone contacted me last week inquiring whether a Will is valid in Texas if it is not dated. Apparently, the individual’s father-in-law died leaving a short typed Will. He signed the Will and two unrelated people signed as witnesses, but the Will was not dated.
Requirements of a valid Will
Section 59 of the Texas Probate Code addresses the requirements of a valid Will in Texas. For a Will to be valid, the testator must have legal capacity, testamentary capacity and testamentary intent. Additionally, certain formalities need to be followed.
The types of formalities vary depending on what type of Will that has been made.
- An attested Will is the most common type of Last Will and Testament. To be valid, it must be in writing, signed by the testator, or another person at the testator’s direction and in his presence, and attested in his presence by at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14.
- A holographic Will must be written completely in the testator’s own handwriting, and signed by him. There is no requirement that it be signed by any witnesses.
As you can see, regardless of whether the Will is attested or holographic, there is no requirement that the Will be dated.
Reasons to date your Will anyway
Even though it is not required, it is standard practice is to include a date on the same page as the testator’s signature. Having the Will dated can be important in a lot of circumstances.
For example, suppose a Testator dies leaving multiple Wills. If the Will is not dated, it might be difficult to determine which Will is most recent. Or perhaps a testator suffered from dementia late in life. If the Will is not dated, it may be difficult to establish that it was signed while the testator still had testamentary capacity.
Having the Will dated will prevent any confusion and ensure that your estate will pass according to your wishes.