ESTATES CODE - Title 2 - SUBTITLE F. WILLS

Link to law: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/ES/htm/ES.252.HTM
Published: 2015-07-01

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ESTATES CODE

TITLE 2. ESTATES OF DECEDENTS; DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY

SUBTITLE F. WILLS

CHAPTER 252. SAFEKEEPING AND CUSTODY OF WILLS



SUBCHAPTER A. DEPOSIT OF WILL WITH COUNTY CLERK



Sec. 252.001. WILL DEPOSIT; CERTIFICATE. (a) A testator, or another person for the testator, may deposit the testator's will with the county clerk of the county of the testator's residence. Before accepting the will for deposit, the clerk may require proof satisfactory to the clerk concerning the testator's identity and residence.

(b) The county clerk shall receive and keep the will on the payment of a $5 fee.

(c) On the deposit of the will, the county clerk shall issue a certificate of deposit for the will.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.002. SEALED WRAPPER REQUIRED. (a) A will intended to be deposited with a county clerk shall be enclosed in a sealed wrapper.

(b) The wrapper must be endorsed with:

(1) "Will of," followed by the name, address, and signature of the testator; and

(2) the name and current address of each person who is to be notified of the deposit of the will after the testator's death.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.003. NUMBERING OF FILED WILLS AND CORRESPONDING CERTIFICATES. (a) A county clerk shall number wills deposited with the clerk in consecutive order.

(b) A certificate of deposit issued under Section 252.001(c) on receipt of a will must bear the same number as the will for which the certificate is issued.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.004. INDEX. A county clerk shall keep an index of all wills deposited with the clerk under Section 252.001.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



SUBCHAPTER B. WILL DELIVERY DURING LIFE OF TESTATOR



Sec. 252.051. WILL DELIVERY. During the lifetime of the testator, a will deposited with a county clerk under Subchapter A may be delivered only to:

(1) the testator; or

(2) another person authorized by the testator by a sworn written order.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.052. SURRENDER OF CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT; EXCEPTION. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), on delivery of a will to the testator or a person authorized by the testator under Section 252.051, the certificate of deposit issued for the will must be surrendered by the person to whom delivery of the will is made.

(b) A county clerk may instead accept and file an affidavit by the testator stating that the certificate of deposit issued for the will has been lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



SUBCHAPTER C. ACTIONS BY COUNTY CLERK ON DEATH OF TESTATOR



Sec. 252.101. NOTIFICATION BY COUNTY CLERK. A county clerk shall notify, by registered mail, return receipt requested, each person named on the endorsement of the will wrapper that the will is on deposit in the clerk's office if:

(1) an affidavit is submitted to the clerk stating that the testator has died; or

(2) the clerk receives other notice or proof of the testator's death sufficient to convince the clerk that the testator has died.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.102. WILL DELIVERY ON TESTATOR'S DEATH. On the request of one or more persons notified under Section 252.101, the county clerk shall deliver the will that is the subject of the notice to the person or persons. The clerk shall obtain a receipt for delivery of the will.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.103. INSPECTION OF WILL BY COUNTY CLERK. A county clerk shall open a will wrapper and inspect the will if:

(1) the notice required by Section 252.101 is returned as undelivered; or

(2) the clerk has accepted for deposit a will that does not specify on the will wrapper the person to whom the will is to be delivered on the testator's death.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.104. NOTICE AND DELIVERY OF WILL TO EXECUTOR. If a county clerk inspects a will under Section 252.103 and the will names an executor, the clerk shall:

(1) notify the person named as executor, by registered mail, return receipt requested, that the will is on deposit with the clerk; and

(2) deliver, on request, the will to the person named as executor.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.105. NOTICE AND DELIVERY OF WILL TO DEVISEES. (a) If a county clerk inspects a will under Section 252.103, the clerk shall notify by registered mail, return receipt requested, the devisees named in the will that the will is on deposit with the clerk if:

(1) the will does not name an executor;

(2) the person named as executor in the will:

(A) has died; or

(B) fails to take the will before the 31st day after the date the notice required by Section 252.104 is mailed to the person; or

(3) the notice mailed to the person named as executor is returned as undelivered.

(b) On request, the county clerk shall deliver the will to any or all of the devisees notified under Subsection (a).

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



SUBCHAPTER D. LEGAL EFFECT OF WILL DEPOSIT



Sec. 252.151. DEPOSIT HAS NO LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE. The provisions of Subchapter A providing for the deposit of a will with a county clerk during the lifetime of a testator are solely for the purpose of providing a safe and convenient repository for a will. For purposes of probate, a will deposited as provided by Subchapter A may not be treated differently than a will that has not been deposited.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.152. PRIOR DEPOSITED WILL IN RELATION TO LATER WILL. A will that is not deposited as provided by Subchapter A shall be admitted to probate on proof that the will is the last will and testament of the testator, notwithstanding the fact that the testator has a prior will that has been deposited in accordance with Subchapter A.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.153. WILL DEPOSIT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE NOTICE. The deposit of a will as provided by Subchapter A does not constitute notice, constructive or otherwise, to any person as to the existence or the contents of the will.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



SUBCHAPTER E. DUTY AND LIABILITY OF CUSTODIAN OF ESTATE PAPERS



Sec. 252.201. WILL DELIVERY. On receiving notice of a testator's death, the person who has custody of the testator's will shall deliver the will to the clerk of the court that has jurisdiction of the testator's estate.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.202. PERSONAL SERVICE ON CUSTODIAN OF ESTATE PAPERS. On a sworn written complaint that a person has custody of the last will of a testator or any papers belonging to the estate of a testator or intestate, the judge of the court that has jurisdiction of the estate shall have the person cited by personal service to appear and show cause why the person should not deliver:

(1) the will to the court for probate; or

(2) the papers to the executor or administrator.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.203. ARREST; CONFINEMENT. On the return of a citation served under Section 252.202, if the judge is satisfied that the person served with the citation had custody of the will or papers at the time the complaint under that section was filed and the person does not deliver the will or papers or show good cause why the will or papers have not been delivered, the judge may have the person arrested and confined until the person delivers the will or papers.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.



Sec. 252.204. DAMAGES. (a) A person who refuses to deliver a will or papers described by Section 252.202 is liable to any person aggrieved by the refusal for all damages sustained as a result of the refusal.

(b) Damages may be recovered under this section in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 680 (H.B. 2502), Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2014.