The Texas Estates Code requires every last will and testament, if not wholly in the handwriting of the testator, to be attested by two or more “credible witnesses.” The proponent of the will has the burden of proof to show that the witnesses who attested the will are “credible witnesses.”
What are credible witnesses?
The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that “credible witness” is synonymous with “competent witness.” A competent witness to a will is one who receives no pecuniary benefit under its terms. So a husband can be a witness to a will where his wife is a beneficiary if he is not a beneficiary. A wife can be a witness to a will where her husband is a beneficiary if she is not a beneficiary. Conversely, a person who is a beneficiary under a will is not “credible” and can’t be a witness. 838sw2547. I have written another article about the problems encountered when a beneficiary witnesses a will.
How do you prove that the witnesses are credible witnesses?
According to the court, where the will is admitted into evidence and it provides no pecuniary benefit to the witnesses, the will itself constitutes some evidence that the witnesses are credible to attest the will at the time the will was executed.