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Are Foreign Wills Valid in Texas?

In general, foreign wills – from other states or countries – can be probated in Texas, but there are certain requirements that must be met and particular rules that must be followed in order to successfully probate the will.

First, a will is deemed to be foreign if it was executed in a jurisdiction outside of Texas, whether merely another state or another country altogether. Wills are typically made where the decedent and their property resides, but it is possible that the decedent may also have property, particularly real estate, in another country or state, such as Texas. Or perhaps the decedent executed a will and then moved from a previous residence to Texas, along with his property. In either of these scenarios, the following applies – a will must be probated in all jurisdictions where the decedent owns property or where their will otherwise affects property.

Probating a foreign will in Texas

Assuming the decedent either had property in multiple jurisdictions, including Texas, or moved to Texas but never updated their will from another state or country, the will must be probated here. The Texas Estates Code says that foreign wills can be probated in Texas if the following requirements are met:

  • There is property in the state that will be affected by the will’s terms; and
  • Proof is presented that the will stands probated or otherwise established in a foreign jurisdiction.

If these conditions are met, you must file an application for ancillary probate in a Texas county where the decedent owned real or personal property. You will also need to provide specific information to the court, including:

  • The names and addresses of all people who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the decedent hadn’t made a will;
  • All information requested for the probate of a domestic will in Texas;
  • A copy of the foreign will and order by which the will was entered into probate.

When submitting a copy of the will, it must be signed by the court clerk in charge of handling probate records. It should also have the original signature of the judge or presiding magistrate. If a court seal exists, it should also be affixed to the document.

The probate process will continue until final distribution of the assets and all tasks required of the executor or administrator have been completed. A licensed attorney is required to represent the estate in all probate proceedings, so if you are considering probating a foreign will in Texas, it is important to speak with an experienced probate attorney to discuss your options.


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This article is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal, financial, or tax advice. The information provided herein was accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change without notice. We recommend that you consult an estate planning attorney or a tax advisor to discuss how current laws apply to your situation.

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