New will-signing procedure: the testator and witnesses need sign only once
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Glenn Karisch in 2011 legislation

(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 new will-signing method becomes available on September 1, 2011.

Article originally appeared on Texas Probate (
See website for complete article licensing information.