In Texas, you are not required to “file” your will anywhere before you die. Upon your death, the custodian of your will, the person named as the executor, or any persons interested in the estate can admit your will to probate. Interested persons are those that have a property right in, or claim against, the estate.
Although you are not required to “file” your Texas will, you can choose to do so and it may be a good idea for some people. Filing your will gives you a place to store your will, removing potential confusion upon your death as to where your will is located or who should file it. You can file your will with the county clerk of the county in which you reside. You can also include names and addresses of the people you want to be notified of the deposit of the will after your death. Upon your death, the clerk will notify these people that the will is on deposit. If you do not list anyone to be notified, the clerk will notify the executor, if one is named. If there is no executor named or the executor fails to take the will, the clerk will notify the other individuals named in the will. Upon request, the clerk will deliver the will to the individuals notified. Subsequently, one of these individuals will admit your will to probate.
There is no legal significance to choosing to file your Texas will with the county during your lifetime. Your will, for purposes of probate, will be treated the same whether or not you file it with the Texas county clerk during your lifetime. If you choose to file your will with the county but create a more recent will, the more recent document will be admitted to probate in lieu of the will that you originally filed as long as it proves to be your last will and testament.
This article was prepared by Sarah Raley and edited by Austin Lawyer Sarah Berry.