In re Estate of Allen, 301 S.W.3d 923 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2009, pet. denied).


Testamentary Intent


After probating Mother’s will as a muniment of title, Son convinced the trial court to admit 13 writings as codicils to Mother’s will. Siblings appealed asserting that these writings were not valid codicils because they did not demonstrate that Mother had testamentary intent.

The appellate court reversed agreeing with Siblings that these writings lacked testamentary intent. The writings contain extensive lists of personal property with indications that these “statements” of property are “for” Son. Mother signed the writings and they are witnessed by two individuals. However, they are not labeled as being “wills” or “codicils” and lack any language showing Mother’s intent for these writings to dispose of property upon her death. The court explained that merely indicating in a “statement” that property is “for” someone does not show an intent to make an at-death property disposition.

Moral: To prevent claims that documents lack testamentary intent, wills and codicils should clearly be labeled as such and use language consistent with disposing of property at death such as “give at my death,” “leave at my death, “devise,” “bequeath,” etc.