A nuncupative will is the legal term for an oral or spoken will. These wills are rarely admitted to be valid depending on circumstance. Only 20 states permit nuncupative wills, Texas being one (having started on September 1, 2007). If you are interested in making such a will, it is important to follow these very strict guidelines:
- The stipulation(s) made in the will must be witnessed by a minimum of 3 people who have no interest in said will
- The will must be in written form by one or all witnesses shortly after the death of the testator
According to state, there may exist limits on the types of property and monetary types. For example, nuncupative wills can only be used to determine which beneficiaries will receive personal property of the testator. However, in some jurisdictions, the nuncupative will allows for the testator to devise real property.
As far as Texas’ rules for nuncupative wills, the following must be met for the will to be valid:
- The testator must have been close to death when the will was spoken
- The testator must have orally made the will at his/her home
- The testator must have orally made the will in a location where he/she resided at for at least 10 days
- The testator must have orally made the will at any location when alive but having died before returning to his/her home.
- The value of any property the testator bequeaths cannot exceed $30 in value unless at least three witnesses have heard the oral will.
Any nuncupative wills made prior to September 1, 2007 will still be valid.
For more information on the process of making nuncupative wills, contact the experienced wills and probate attorneys of McAllen’s Barrera, Sanchez & Associates at (956) 287-7555.