Scheduling Open
24x7
Location
3010 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1200
Dallas, Texas 75234

Introduction

A will is a legal document that dictates what happens to your possessions and assets after you die. In Texas, a will must be in writing and signed by two witnesses, as well as the person making the will (the “testator”). The witnesses cannot be related to the testator by blood or marriage. There are a few different ways to change your will in Texas. In this blog post, we will explore making a codicil to your will in Texas. We will discuss what a codicil is, how to make one, and whether or not a letter to your attorney counts as a codicil.

What is a will?

A will is a legally binding document that outlines an individual’s wishes for how their estate should be managed and distributed after their death. The document is usually created with the help of an attorney and typically names a designated executor who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions laid out in the will. While state laws vary, in Texas, a will must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person creating the will), and witnessed by two adults who are not named beneficiaries in the will.

If an individual wants to make changes to their will after it has been created, they must do so in a legal manner that adheres to the requirements set forth by the state of Texas. One way to make a change to a will is through what is called a codicil, which is an amendment that must be signed and witnessed in the same way as the original will. Another option is to create an entirely new will that revokes all previous versions of the document. It is important to note that simply crossing out or writing additions or deletions on an existing will does not count as a legal change – any modifications made in this way will not be valid.

What is a letter to your attorney?

If you have questions about your will or changes you want to make to your will, you may be wondering if you need to write a letter to your attorney. In Texas, a letter to your attorney does not count as a change to your will. However, it is always best to consult with an attorney before making any changes to your will.

If you have already made changes to your will, or if you want to make changes but are not sure how, you should consult with an attorney before doing anything else. An attorney can help you understand the law and what options are available to you.

What is the difference between a will and a letter to your attorney in Texas?

A will is a legally binding document that outlines your wishes for how your property should be distributed after your death. A letter to your attorney is not a legally binding document and does not have the same weight as a will. In Texas, if you want to change your will, you must do so in writing and have two witnesses sign the document. A letter to your attorney does not need to be witnessed or signed.

How do you change your will in Texas?

In Texas, you can change your will by either:

1) Making a new will that revokes all prior wills and codicils; or
2) Amending your existing will by executing a document called a codicil.

If you make a new will, it must be in writing, signed by you in the presence of two witnesses, and then notarized. The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries under the will. You can revoke your will at any time and for any reason by destroying it or making a new one.

If you want to make changes to your existing will without making a new one, you can do so by executing a codicil. A codicil is simply a written amendment to your existing will that must be executed with the same formalities required for executing a will (i.e., in the presence of two witnesses and then notarized). Like a new will, a codicil revokes all prior wills and codicils.

If you have any questions about changing your will in Texas, please contact an experienced estate planning attorney for assistance.

When should you update your will?

It is important to keep your will up to date in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. You should update your will if there are any changes in your personal circumstances, such as getting married, having children, or buying property. You should also review your will regularly to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

If you don’t have a will, or if yours is out of date, contact an attorney who specializes in estate planning. They can help you create or update a will that meets your needs and the requirements of Texas law.

Texas Case Law

In Texas, a letter to your attorney does not count as a change to your will. However, if you want to make a change to your will, you must do so in writing and signed by you and two witnesses. This can be done either by codicil or by creating an entirely new will. If you have any questions about how to make a change to your will, you should speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Case Example:

Price v. Huntsman, 430 S.W.2d 831 (Tex. Civ. App. — Waco 1968)

Codicil:

A document that modifies a will.

Facts and Procedural History

 When Velma B. Lorenz passed away, she left a will bequeathing all of her property to Louise Lorenz Huntsman and John F. Lorenz, who were relatives of her deceased husband. Shortly before she died, she was home ill and had visitors who testified that she was physically ill but mentally fine. Right before she was taken to the hospital where she died, an envelope addressed to the same attorney who wrote her will was found. The envelope was delivered to her attorney and inside of it was five savings account books, the key to Louise’s bank box, a $20 bill and two writings that were wholly in her handwriting. One writing was a note stating she had been to ill to see him but wanted to make changes to her will with a fee enclosed. The other writing was the changes to be made along with her signature. 

Louise offered the original will for probate and Price, Philbrick, and Simmons, beneficiaries of the writing, offered the later writings for probate. The county court probated the original will and denied the writings. Price, Philbrick, and Simmons appealed to the district court. Both parties moved for summary judgment which again granted the original will for probate and denied the writings. The proponents of the writings appealed to the court of civil appeals contending that the trial court erred in granting appellees’ motion because the writing was a valid codicil and that they are entitled to a fact issue as to whether the writings constitute a codicil.

The court held that to make a codicil the testator must have testamentary intent to make a disposition of her property. The testator does not need to know that she is making a will, just that her property will be distributed in the way she is asking. The court had to decide whether Velma was writing her attorney to create a new will with her instructions or if she was intending on the writing itself to make a codicil. From this, the court held that since she had attached her fee and stated that the writing was “changes to be made” to her will, the writing was not intended to be a codicil. Therefore, the writings were denied and the original will is admitted to probate.

Main Consideration

Does a writing sent to a testator’s attorney stating changes to be made to a will constitute a codicil?

No. The testator must have had the intent for the document to be a codicil, not for the attorney to make the changes.

Takeaway

Price v. Huntsman shows that a writing from the testator to her attorney to make changes to her will does not constitute a codicil.

Conclusion

It’s important to keep your will up-to-date, and this includes any changes you want to make to it. In Texas, a letter to your attorney can count as a change to your will, as long as it’s signed by you and witnessed by two other people. So if you have any changes you want to make to your will, be sure to contact your attorney and let them know.

Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?

There are many benefits to hiring an experienced probate attorney to help with the administration of a deceased person’s estate. Probate attorneys can help ensure that the estate is properly valued and that all debts and taxes are paid. They can also help distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, as expressed in their will.

If you are named as the executor of a will in Texas, or if you are considering contesting a will, you should speak with an experienced probate attorney to learn more about your rights and options. (469) 895-4333.

https://dfw-probate-law.com/

If you want to make a change to your will, it is important to do so in a way that is legal and binding. Handwritten changes, also known as holographic amendments, are one way to make a change to your will. In order for a handwritten change to be legally binding, it must meet certain requirements.

First, the entire amendment must be in the handwriting of the testator, the person who made the will. Second, the amendment must be signed by the testator. Third, the amendment must be dated. Finally, the amendment must be witnessed by two people who are not related to the testator or named in the will.

Can I change my will by letter?

If you want to make changes to your will, it’s important to do so in a way that will be legally binding. In Texas, that means working with an attorney to draft an amendment, or codicil, to your existing will.

You cannot simply write a letter to your attorney outlining the changes you’d like to make. While your intentions would be clear, there’s no guarantee that the letter would be considered valid in court. If there’s any question about the validity of your will, it could cause significant delays and complications for your loved ones after you’re gone.

Making changes to your will is a serious matter, so it’s important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before making any decisions. With the help of a professional, you can ensure that your final wishes are carried out exactly as you intend.

How to make a will in Texas?

There are a few things to keep in mind when making a will in Texas. First, the will must be in writing and signed by the testator (the person making the will). Second, two witnesses must sign the will, attesting to the fact that they witnessed the testator signing the will. Finally, the witnesses must also sign an affidavit of attesting witness, which is a notarized statement that they saw the testator sign the will and that they believe the testator was of sound mind and under no duress when signing it.

What makes a will invalid in Texas?

A will can be invalidated for many reasons in Texas. Some of the most common reasons are if the will was not properly signed or witnessed, if the testator (the person who made the will) was not of sound mind at the time the will was made, or if the will was obtained by fraud or force. If any of these conditions are present, a court may declare the will to be invalid and order that it be set aside.

How much does it cost to change your will?

It depends on the lawyer you use and the complexity of your will. Generally, it will cost between $100 and $1,000 to change your will.

Related Posts