A will informs the probate court how you want your estate to be handled after you pass. To make a valid will in Texas, you must have legal capacity, testamentary capacity, and testamentary intent. Additionally, certain formalities must be followed. What exactly does that all mean? Our wills and trusts attorneys break down the details in today’s blog.
Basic Requirements for a Texas Will
The testator (the person who makes a will) must be at least 18 years old unless he or she is serving in the armed forces, lawfully married, or divorced. The testator must be of sound mind, meaning that he or she is capable of making decisions and understanding the consequences of making a will. A Last Will and Testament may arrange for distribution of property to any number of persons or organizations, but at least one beneficiary must be named.
The formalities that need to be followed will depend on what type of will you’ve made. The State of Texas recognizes two types of written wills:
- An attested Will is the most common type of Last Will and Testament. To be valid, it must be signed by you in front of two witnesses (over the age of fourteen) and your witnesses must also sign your will.
- A holographic Will must be written completely in your own handwriting and signed by you. It doesn’t need to be signed by any witnesses.
According to Texas Statutes, the testator has the option of adding a self-proving affidavit to the will, which affirms that he properly signed the will in the presence of two witnesses. If a will does not meet all the statutory requirements, it will be declared invalid and your estate could be distributed differently than how you would’ve preferred.
Use Your Will to Name an Executor
In Texas, you can use your will to name an executor to implement your will’s instructions after you pass. If you don’t name an executor, the probate court will appoint someone to settle your estate. The Davidson Law Group is here to answer any questions you may have about naming an executor.
Related Post: Executor Restrictions in Texas
If You Die Without a Will
If you die before making a valid Texas will, state intestacy laws will distribute your property to your closest relatives, starting with your spouse and children. If you’re unmarried and have no children, your grandchildren or your parents will get your property. If no family members can be identified, then the state will take your property.
Related Post: Intestacy in Texas – What You Need to Know
Revoking a Texas Last Will and Testament
A written Texas Will may be revoked by a subsequent will or by a declaration in writing. The testator may also cancel his will or change it at any time.
Consult with Experienced Wills and Trusts Attorneys
A will is a starting point for your estate plan. If you need help forming a will or if you think that your will might be contested, speak with our wills and trusts attorneys. At the Davidson Law Group, we offer flexible estate plans and we maintain strong relationships with our clients. To learn more about how we can help, contact us in Allen, Fort Worth, or Tyler to set up a free consultation.