Professor Gerry W. Beyer

Gerry W. Beyer Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, 2005
(806) 834-4270
Fax: (978) 285-7941
Web Site, Blog

Admitted to practice in Texas, Illinois (inactive), Ohio (inactive) and before the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Professor Beyer received his J.D., summa cum laude, from the Ohio State University and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. After practicing law in Columbus, Ohio, he received his LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. Both his master's thesis and doctoral dissertation topics involved estate planning issues.

Professor Beyer joined the faculty of the Texas Tech University School of Law in June 2005 as the Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law. Previously, Prof. Beyer taught at the St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas from 1981 to May 2005 and has served as a visiting professor at several other law schools including Boston College, Boston University, Ohio State University, Southern Methodist University, the University of New Mexico, Santa Clara University, and LaTrobe University (Melbourne, Australia).

Prof. Beyer has received numerous awards for his classroom performance, student mentoring, and research including the following awards since 2000:

Prof. Beyer is a frequent contributor to both scholarly and practice-orientated publications and has authored and co-authored dozens of books and articles focusing on various aspects of estate planning. On the list of the top 3,000 Law Authors on the Social Science Research Network, his ranking was #57 as of April 1, 2015. In 1993, he received the Probate & Property Excellence in Writing Award for Best Cutting Edge Article for Probate and Trust, the 2001 Probate & Property Excellence in Writing Award for Best Overall Article in Probate and Trust, and the Probate & Property 2012 Excellence in Writing Award — Best Cutting Edge Article in Trusts and Estates.

Prof. Beyer is a member of the American Law Institute and an Academic Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and maintains membership in numerous organizations including the American Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, and the College of the State Bar of Texas.

Prof. Beyer's Wills, Trusts, and Estates Prof Blog ( is the #1 ranked Estate Planning blog in the United States and is ranked, as of April 1, 2015, as the 21st most popular legal blog in the nation. For five consecutive years, his blog was named as one of the ABA Journal's Blawg 100 (, that is, the best legal blogs as selected by the ABA Journal's editors.

Prof. Beyer currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Reporter of The State Bar of Texas, a Director of the South Plains Trust & Estate Council, member of the advisory board for 2nd Chance for Pets, Vice-Chair of the State Laws Committee of ACTEC, and has served as the editor of the Keeping Current column of Probate & Property magazine since 1992.

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B.A., summa cum laude, Eastern Michigan University, 1976
J.D., summa cum laude, Ohio State University, 1979
LL.M., University of Illinois,1983
J.S.D., University of Illinois, 1990

Selected Publications


Wills, Trusts, and Estates: Examples & Explanations (6th ed. 2015).

Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs -- How to Leave (Some of) Your Estate to Your Pet (2010) (co-authored with Barry Seltzer).

Beyer's Texas Property Code Annotated (2014).

Texas Trust Law: Cases and Materials (2nd ed. 2010).

Texas Estate Planning Statutes with Commentary (2013-2015).

Wills, Trusts, and Estates for Legal Assistants (4th ed. 2013) (co-authored with John C. Hanft).

West's Legal Forms -- Real Estate Transactions -- Residential -- Volumes 19 & 19A (7th ed. 2015).

Texas Wills and Estates: Cases and Materials (7th ed. 2015).

Modern Dictionary for the Legal Profession (4th ed. 2008).

Texas Estate Administration: Cases and Materials (2008).

West's Texas Forms -- Administration of Decedents' Estates and Guardianships -- Volumes 12, 12A, & 12B (4th ed. 2007) (co-authored with Aloysius Leopold).

Teaching Materials on Estate Planning (4th ed. 2013).

Texas Law of Wills — Volumes 9 & 10 of Texas Practice Series (3d ed. 2002).

Sum & Substance CDs and Audiotapes: Wills & Succession (4th ed. 2009).

West's Texas Forms — Real Property — Volumes 13, 14, & 15 (2d ed. 2001) (Thomson—West).

Law Review Articles:

Who Said Learning Trusts & Estates Can't Be Fun?, 57 St. Louis Univ. L.J. 713 (2014).

Wills and Trusts, 66 SMU L. Rev. 1219 (2013).

Digital Planning: The Future of Elder Law,, 9 NAELA J. 2013 (co-authored with Naomi Cahn).

Wills Contests – Prediction and Prevention, 4 Est. Plan. & Comm. Prop. L.J. 1 (2011).

Wills and Trusts, 64 SMU L. Rev. 597 (2011).

Wills & Trusts, 63 SMU L. Rev. 865 (2010).

Wills & Trusts, 62 SMU L. Rev. 1499 (2009).

Max's Taxes: A Tax-Based Analysis of Pet Trusts, 43 Univ. Richmond L. Rev. 1219 (2009) (co-authored with Jonathan P. Wilkerson).

Avoiding the Estate Planning "Blue Screen of Death" -- Common Non-Tax Errors and How to Prevent Them, 1 Est. Plan. & Comm. Prop. L.J. 61 (2008).

Wills & Trusts, 61 SMU L. Rev. 1179 (2008).

Review of Raymond C. O'Brien & Michael T. Flannery, Decedents' Estates: Cases and Materials (2006), 29 U.A.L.R. L. Rev. 561 (2007).

Wills & Trusts, 60 SMU L. Rev. 1363 (2007).

Digital Wills: Has the Time Come for Wills to Join the Digital Revolution?, 33 Ohio N.U.L. Rev. 865 (2007).

Wills & Trusts, 59 SMU L. Rev. 1603 (2006).

Wills & Trusts, 58 SMU L. Rev. 1205 (2005).

Wills & Trusts, 57 SMU L. Rev. 1293 (2004).

Wills & Trusts, 56 SMU L. Rev. 2071 (2003).

Pet Animals: What Happens When Their Humans Die?, 40 Santa Clara L. Rev. 617 (2000).

Probate and Trusts, 53 SMU L. Rev. 1229 (2000) (co-authored with Jerry Frank Jones).

The Fine Art of Intimidating Disgruntled Beneficiaries With In Terrorem Clauses, 51 SMU L. Rev. 225 (1998) (co-authored with Rob G. Dickinson & Kenneth L. Wake).

Statutory Fill-in Will Forms — The First Decade: Theoretical Constructs and Empirical Findings, 72 Ore. L. Rev. 769 (1993).

Simplification of Inter Vivos Trust Instruments — From Incorporation by Reference to the Uniform Custodial Trust Act and Beyond, 32 S. Tex. L. Rev. 203 (1991).

Pay to the Order of Whom? The Case of the Ambiguous Multiple Payee Designation, 21 U. Tol. L. Rev. 685 (1990).

Enhancing Self-Determination Through Guardian Self-Declaration, 23 Ind. L. Rev. 71 (1990).

Statutory Will Methodologies — Incorporated Forms vs. Fill-in Forms: Rivalry or Peaceful Co-Existence?, 94 Dick. L. Rev. 231 (1990).

Ante-Mortem Probate: A Viable Alternative, 43 Ark. L. Rev. 131 (1990) (co-authored with Aloysius Leopold).

Videotape and the Probate Process: The Nexus Grows, 42 Okla. L. Rev. 43 (1989) (co-authored with William R. Buckley).

The Will Execution Ceremony — History, Significance, and Strategies, 29 S. Tex. L. Rev. 413 (1988).

Videotaping the Will Execution Ceremony — Preventing Frustration of Testator's Final Wishes, 15 St. Mary's L.J. 1 (1983).

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