Texas Tech University

Gerry W. Beyer

Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law, 2005

Email: gerry.beyer@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-4270

Prof. Beyer, a Texas and nationally recognized expert in estate planning, joined the faculty in 2005 as the first holder of the Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professorship.  He researches, writes, and teaches in the areas of estate planning, wills & trusts and property. In 2015, he was inducted into the Estate Planning Hall of Fame, composed of only approximately 100 members, by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils.

He has received dozens of teaching awards at many law schools throughout his 37 year career including Texas Tech University, Santa Clara University, and St. Mary's University. At Texas Tech, he has been voted Professor of the Year seven times by various groups and has received the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (the most prestigious University-wide teaching award at Texas Tech), the President's Excellence in Teaching Award, and the 2015 President's Academic Achievement Award. In 2012, he was elected to the Texas Tech University Teaching Academy.

Prof. Beyer has authored more than 22 books, 35 law review articles, 30 other significant works and 300 continuing legal education articles. A few of his current scholarship interests include (1) planning for the transfer of and access to a person's digital assets, both when the person is disabled and upon death, (2) studying the impact of legalized recreational and medical marijuana on estate planning, (3) exploring the potential of including photographs of items a person wishes to give away in his or her will, (4) helping communication challenged clients plan their estates, and (5) investigating professional responsibility and ethical concerns that arise in estate planning.

Prof. Beyer's scholarship receives nationwide recognition and has three times won Excellence In Writing Awards from the American Bar Association. He has twice won the Outstanding Researcher from the School of Law Award. Over two dozen courts have relied on his  writings for authority.  He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the REPTL Reporter, the official journal of the largest section of the State Bar of Texas, the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section with distribution to over 9,000 members.

From 2010 through 2017, Prof. Beyer has made more than 200 presentations coast-to coast by accepting invitations to share the results of his research at seminars and symposia for national, state and local bar associations, universities, and civic groups. On almost a daily basis, Prof. Beyer provides free advice to attorneys working on pro bono or reduced-fee cases.

On the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Prof. Beyer is one of the most often downloaded authors with a ranking in the top .001%.  His SSRN writings are available for free download by following this link: http://ssrn.com/author=461383.

Prof. Beyer's J.D. (summa cum laude) from The Ohio State University College of Law where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and his LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees from the University of Illinois helped prepare him for the general practice of law in Columbus, Ohio before he began his teaching career.

Prof. Beyer is 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.

Photo Description


  • 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


  • Wills and Trusts
  • Property
  • Estate Planning

Selected Publications


Texas Wills, Trusts, and Estates (2018).

Beyer's Texas Property Code Annotated with Related Texas Law (2017 ed.).

Texas Estate Planning Statutes with Commentary – 2017-2019 Edition (2017).

Texas Law of Wills — Volumes 9 & 10 of Texas Practice Series (4th ed. 2016-2017).

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

Law Review Articles

Avoid Being a Defendant: Estate Planning Malpractice and Ethical Concerns, 5 St. Mary's J. L. Mal. & Ethics224 (2015).

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

Digital Planning: The Future of Elder Law, 9 NAELA J. 135 (2013) (co-authored with Naomi Cahn).

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

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

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

Puff, the Magic Dragon, and the Estate Planner, Tex. A&M J. Prop. L. 1 (2016) (co-authored with Brooke Dacus).

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


Wills and Trusts, Sum + Substance CD Series  (10.5 hours) (5th ed. 2016)


Complete List

For a comprehensive list of Prof. Beyer's scholarship, follow this link: http://www.professorbeyer.com/Beyer/About.html.