(This is one of a series of posts about 2011 legislation.)
Under prior law, in order to make a will self-proved, the testator and each witness had to sign the will twice – once on the will itself and once on the self-proving affidavit. SB 1198 amends Section 59 of the Texas Probate Code to permit combining the execution of the will with the signing of the self-proving affidavit so that the testator and witnesses only have to sign once. The statute includes the appropriate language to include in the will if the one-signature method is desired.
The one-signature method is optional. Testators still may use the two-signature method.
The change to Section 59 corresponds with changes to Sections 677A and 679 made in 2009 which adopted a one-signature method for declarations of guardian. Other changes in 2009 made it possible to use a notary public in lieu of witnesses on medical powers of attorney and on directives to physicians and family or surrogates. As a result of the 2009 and 2011 changes, attorneys may greatly streamline the document signing ceremony:
- The statutory durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney and directive to physicians or family and surrogates may be executed before a notary public, and no witnesses are required.
- The will, the declaration of guardian for minor children and the declaration of guardian in the event of later incapacity require two witnesses, but the testator/declarant and the witnesses need sign only once.
The new will-signing method becomes available on September 1, 2011.