Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Adding a Self-Proving Affidavit to Your Will

In Texas, a self-proving affidavit is not required to make your Will valid, but it does make your Will easier to probate.  When properly executed, the self-proving affidavit dispenses with the need for any live witnesses to testify in court at the hearing on an application to probate your Will.
Effective January 1, 2014, Texas will no longer require a separate “self-proving affidavit” on a person’s Will.  Until then – because of some confusion concerning the effective date of the various changes made to Section 59 of the Texas Probate Code by the Texas Legislature – we believe that it is best to include a separate self-proving affidavit after the signature block where you and the two witnesses have attested to your Will.  

As of the date of this blog entry, Texas Probate Code Section 59 contains the following statutory language for a self-proving affidavit to a person’s Will:

COUNTY OF ________________
Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared _______________, _______________, and _______________, known to me to be the testator and the witnesses, respectively, whose names are subscribed to the annexed or foregoing instrument in their respective capacities, and, all of said persons being by me duly sworn, the said _______________, testator, declared to me and to the said witnesses in my presence that said instrument is his last will and testament, and that he had willingly made and executed it as his free act and deed; and the said witnesses, each on his oath stated to me, in the presence and hearing of the said testator, that the said testator had declared to them that said instrument is his last will and testament, and that he executed same as such and wanted each of them to sign it as a witness; and upon their oaths each witness stated further that they did sign the same as witnesses in the presence of the said testator and at his request; that he was at that time eighteen years of age or over (or being under such age, was or had been lawfully married, or was then a member of the armed forces of the United States or of an auxiliary thereof or of the Maritime Service) and was of sound mind; and that each of said witnesses was then at least fourteen years of age.

Subscribed and sworn to before me by the said ____________, testator, and by the said ________________ and _______________, witnesses, on this ______ day of ________________, 20____ A.D.
(Signed)           ___________________________
(Official Capacity of Officer)

It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney prior to signing any legal document, including your Last Will and Testament; this will help ensure that the document meets current statutory requirements and that you understand the significance and consequences of each provision and term contained in the document.
By:      Cynthia W. Veidt