I recently had someone ask me at an event about executing a will. Specifically, what happens when someone needs to sign a will, but they have a disability (like blindness) that prevents signing? There are a few considerations. §251.051 of Texas Estates Code is a good place to start:
“Except as otherwise provided by law, a last will and testament must be:
- in writing;
- signed by:
- the testator in person; or
- (B) another person on behalf of the testator:
- in the testator’s presence; and
- under the testator’s direction; and
- attested by two or more credible witnesses who are at least 14 years of age and who subscribe their names to the will in their own handwriting in the testator’s presence.”
The old Texas case of Guest v. Guest established that someone unable to sign a will could do so by “making his mark” (yes that was a real thing).
If there is a disability such as blindness present, I recommend notifying the notary public, and arranging for them to sign at the persons direction according to §406.0165 of the Texas Government Code.
Be diligent here, as there is a lot to think about, both at signing and with an eye toward possible future conflict. Let me know if I can help. Remember, it’s also required that the will be signed with all the other formal requirements to be valid.
Zane Frisbie is a Partner at Regan & Frisbie, PLLC, a law firm focusing on Wills, Trusts, Probate, Contracts, Business Formations (LLC, Corporation, S-Corp Designation), Business Disputes, and Consumer Litigation.
Regan & Frisbie, PLLC is located 5850 Town & Country Blvd, # 501, Frisco, Texas 75034.
Comments or questions, feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 469.200.4737.
*Nothing in this Article is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, or creating an attorney-client relationship, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only, and no warranty or representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.