Credible Witnesses To A Will.

Robert Ray

Two credible witnesses are required.

The Texas Estates Code requires every last will, if not wholly in the testator’s handwriting, to be attested by two or more “credible witnesses.” The proponent of the will has the burden of proof to show that the witnesses who attested the will are “credible witnesses.”

What are credible witnesses?

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that “credible witness” is synonymous with “competent witness.” A competent witness to a will is one who receives no pecuniary benefit under its terms. So a husband can be a witness to a will where his wife is a beneficiary if he is not a beneficiary. Likewise, a wife can be a witness to a will where her husband is a beneficiary if she is not a beneficiary. Conversely, a person who is a beneficiary under a will is not “credible” and can’t be a witness. There is an old case at 838 sw2 547 that says that in passing. I have written another article about the problems encountered when a beneficiary witnesses a will.

However, a beneficiary can be a witness if his testimony can be corroborated by someone else or if the will can be proved in some other manner. TEC §§254.002.

How do you prove that the witnesses are credible?

According to the court, where the will is admitted into evidence, and it provides no pecuniary benefit to the witnesses, the will itself constitutes some evidence that the witnesses are credible to attest to the will at the time the will was executed.


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The Author

Robert Ray

Robert Ray handles inheritance disputes of all kinds. He takes cases throughout Texas.
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