Requirements of a Valid Will

Can I Make An Oral Will in Texas?

by Rania Combs

A nuncupative will is an oral or spoken will. Prior to September 1, 2007, Texas allowed individuals to use nuncupative (oral wills) to transfer personal property at death, but only in very limited circumstances. These circumstances included:

  1. Last sickness: The testator had to be on his deathbed when he uttered his testamentary words. In other words, circumstances must have existed that gave him no time or opportunity to make a written will.
  2. Location: The testator must have spoken the testamentary words
    • at home
    • at a place he resided for ten or more days before speaking those words, or
    • at any location if he was ill when he left and died before returning to his home.
  3. Value of the property: The value of the property the testator transferred could not exceed $30, unless three witnesses heard the testator speak the testamentary words.

Oral wills made before September 1, 2007 will still be given effect. However, oral wills made after that date are not valid.

This post was originally published in 2010 and updated on September 22, 2022.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

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  1. What Types of Wills are Recognized In Texas? – Texas Wills and Trusts

    May 7, 2014 at 3:53pm

    […] September 1, 2007, Texas authorized oral wills in very limited circumstances; however, effective September 1, 2007, Texas repealed Sections 64 and 65 of the Probate Code, […]

  2. Julie Valentine

    November 22, 2014 at 1:25pm

    This states that “an oral or spoken will” was allowed in Texas until September 1, 2007. But what is the status of an oral will after Sept. 1, 2007?

    1. Rania Combs

      November 22, 2014 at 1:30pm

      Oral wills are no longer allowed in Texas.