Penner & Associates - Mexico Law Firm and Business Consulting for Mexico

For professional assistance & information on legal & business matters regarding Mexico and Latin America, please contact:

Please contact us at our Mexico offices located at:
Apartado Postal No. 9
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
TEL. US.: (800) 856-5709
Local Phone (415) 152-3648

e-mail E-MAIL


At our Phoenix or Mexico Offices
P.O. Box 42773
Phoenix, Arizona 85080
Tel: (623) 242-7442

e-mail E-MAIL

Montecito no. 38 Piso 37 Oficina 37
Edificio World Trade Center
Colonia Napolis C.P. 03810
Mexico, Distrito Federal

Tel: (55)5351-0438





Choose one or more:

Law , Persons that can Make Wills , Persons that can not Receive by Will , Legacies , Types of Wills , Open Public Wills , Closed Public Wills , Holographic Wills , Private Wills , Military Wills , Maritime Wills , Foreign Wills , Alternatives for Mexicans Abroad.



The estate of a deceased person will pass to his heirs by law when the deceased did not leave a will. When part was not disposed of in a will, then it will go to heirs. When the person entitled to property by will or law dies before the testator or renounces the rights granted or is incapacitated by law to receive that given by will, then the property passes to the other heirs.

Persons that Can make Wills

All person may make wills and thusly dispose of their property and rights, except: minors below 16 years of age, persons that are mentally incapacitated,

Person that can not Receive by Will

Persons not conceived at the time of death of the deceased of the testator; persons found guilty of certain crimes or dishonorable acts against the testator, guardians of the testator where the will was made while the testator was under the tutelage and/or the accounting of the tutelage was not yet approved, the doctor (and his close relatives, unless legal heirs) who treated the testator during his prior to death illness, the notary and witnesses (and their close relatives, unless legal heirs) who attested to the will, ministers with respect to other ministers (to the fourth degree) or the testators they attended during their last illness (unless legal heirs), foreigners to Mexico and corporations to the extent limited by laws of Mexico (example farmland for certain corporations, beachfront property in direct title for foreigners), churches and religious sects and organizations, persons appointed as executors or guardians that did not accept the post (without just cause) or where dismissed.


Legacies are permitted but a condition to not give or not do something is not valid, as is the condition to not attack the will.

Types of Wills

Wills are either ordinary or special. The ordinary wills are Open Public, Closed Public or Holographic. Special wills are Private, Military, Maritime, or Foreign (from abroad). Certain persons can not be witnesses to a will

Open Public Wills. They are done before a Mexican notary public and 3 witnesses (two of which must sign on their own and the third can have another sign for him is he can not or does not know how). The will is written in the form of a notary public public instrument, expressing the will of the testor. It expresses the date, time and place of it's execution, the certification of the notary, the presence of the witnesses and the full desires of the testor. The notary public acquires the signatures of the testor and the witnesses and signs it him self. The notary then issues an original copy known as a testimony of the public instrument, keeping the original signed copy for backup records. If the testor does not know Spanish, then he/she can hand write it and have its translated and attached to the record of the will held by the notary public.

Closed Public Wills. They are done by the testor writing out (personally or by another he requests, if he can not write) his last will, signing each page, including the last page, and placing it in a closed envelope. this envelope is delivered by the testor to the Mexican notary public, before three witnesses, declaring that it is his last will and testament. The notary public places the statement on the envelope that it is the will of the testor and is signed by the testor, the 3 witnesses and the notary public. The envelope is either left with the notary public or can be taken by the testor. In either case, the notary public makes note of the event and disposition of the envelope with the will in his official protocol book (where public instruments are placed).

Holographic Wills. They are done entirely in hand writing by the testor and in the testor's own language, in duplicate, the testor having signed each page of both copies. It is to be dated and state the place in which it was done. This will is then placed in a closed envelope and deposited with the General Archives of Notary Offices in the state they are in. If this archive does not exist, then consult local legislation, it might be possible to deposit with the Public Registry of Property and Commerce, a notary public or the Mayor's office. The testor keeps a copy of the will, also in a sealed envelope, with the official's annotation.

Private Wills. They are done only in emergency cases and as an alternate to the Holographic will. There must be a justified need for urgency, with no notary public available, and done before 5 witnesses (or 3 witnesses in great urgency). It is preferable that it be done in the testor's' hand writing but not essential and is to be signed by the testor (where possible) and the witnesses. If the urgency passes and the testor did not die, then the will ceases to be valid, requiring the testor to chose one of the prior options for making a will.

Military Wills. They are done orally or written by solders on entering military service or when they are wounded in battle.

Maritime Wills. They are done in writing, while on a Mexican registered maritime vessel, in duplicate before two witnesses and the captain. One copy signed by all parties is kept by the testor and one is kept by the captain.

Foreign Wills. They are done in a foreign country (land sea or air) and are valid in Mexico if they are considered valid in their country of execution.

Alternatives for Mexicans Abroad. Mexican nationals may execute wills before foreign services agent of the Mexican government that are considered as having Mexican notary public authority (i.e. consuls, vice-consuls, etc.).