Precatory words in a Texas will

Precatory words in a Texas will

What are precatory words?

Precatory words are words that are a request or a desire. These are seen mostly in self-made wills. The problems with these words are:  do the words pass title?

Examples of precatory words

Occasionally, when someone writes a will, they will use words like “I wish that Bob gets my house” or “it is my desire that Bob gets my house.”

One will had the following language “The…stock belonging to me has been handed to Myrtle and Lyter for what I lost them in the oil deal.”

In general, none of this language in wills will pass any property. Precatory words in a Texas will just express a wish of the testator and don’t necessarily pass property. If the property is not otherwise mentioned in the will, the testator dies intestate (without a will) as to that property.

Whether language is precatory-i.e., language that requests, recommends, or expresses a desire rather than a command- or testamentary is a question of intent. 545 S.W.3d 542. Words that are precatory in their ordinary meaning will be construed as mandatory when it is evident that such was the grantor’s intent. 436 S.W.2d 234. In that case, the court considered a will and codicil and noted that when words like “desire” are used “in direct reference to the disposition of the testator’s own property and show a clear intent to make such disposition without the intervention of any act by the . . . donee, they are ordinarily regarded as imperative and testamentary rather than precatory.” Id. But precatory language is treated differently depending on whether it is directed to a beneficiary or an executor. Id. at 239-40. A wish directed to a beneficiary is generally regarded as precatory without a clear expression of intent to the contrary, while such words addressed to an executor “are more often regarded as mandatory.” Id. at 240. Using will forms found on the internet is not a good idea.

So, be precise. Don’t use niceties. Tell people how you are disposing of your property. “I give my house to Bob.” “I give my stock to Myrtle.”

You May Also Like…

WHAT CONSTITUTES A SIGNATURE ON A WILL

WHAT CONSTITUTES A SIGNATURE ON A WILL

A holographic will is one that is wholly in the handwriting of the testator and signed by him. What constitutes a signature is often contested.

Robert Ray

Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We handle cases all across Texas. Our principal office is in Lantana, Texas (DFW area).

Robert Ray is a Texas attorney who handles inheritance disputes

Why Us?

Inheritance disputes involve someone who has taken advantage of the elderly. These cases are complicated and most often, but not always, involve outsiders. We represent you knowing that these inheritance disputes are private and painful family matters. We know this is a stressful time for you. We strive to obtain the quickest and best results possible so that you can get this troubling episode behind you.

Questions?

Get In Touch

Address

Lantana, Texas
In the DFW area

Phone

(214) 660-5700

Follow Us

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This