Last Will and Testament in Texas

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“Last wills and testaments outline a person’s instructions regarding specific properties and communicate their final wishes to everyone in their family. The testament may deal with issues related to dependents, accounts administration, and financial interests. Let’s look at the essential components of a Texas last will below to learn more.”

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Last Will and Testament in Texas

You should draft and sign a will during your lifetime since not having a choice will adversely affect your estate upon your passing. The probate court determines how to handle your estate. Finalizing your will can make probate proceedings easier for your surviving family members.

This blog post explains everything you need to know about creating and executing a last will and testament in Texas.


In Texas, what is a Last Will and Testament?

The last will and testament document is a legal document that states your final wishes for the probate judge upon your passing away. In addition to naming guardians for minor dependents, you can leave assets to your heirs in these documents. The probate court will use your will and testament when closing your estate.


Different Forms

Wills come in several forms, including:

  • Deathbed wills. The creation of a will during the dying process.
  • Holographic wills. This type of will requires a person’s handwriting instead of witnesses.
  • Joint wills. The will of two or more people, usually a married couple, acts as their will.
  • Living wills. If you become medically incapable of making decisions, this document specifies actions.
  • Nuncupative wills. Someone too ill to write down their wishes usually makes a verbal will, but it is only legal in limited jurisdictions.
  • Online wills. With the help of online tools, you can create a will.
  • Pour-over wills. The trustee will disperse the trust’s assets—the trust you established throughout your life.
  • Simple wills. Identifying your belongings and who will inherit them in your will.
  • Testamentary trust wills. You can create a trust based on your will to hold your assets after your death.

Most states default to per stirpes probate if you don’t have a signed last will and testament Texas free. You or your family have no control over the outcome of your estate’s closing when your state defaults to per Stirpes probate laws. If you are still alive, a financially irresponsible child may suddenly receive a large sum of money you would never have given them.


Validity of a Will Depends on Three Conditions

The probate court’s primary function is to determine whether the living will is valid. If you meet three conditions, you must assign the task of carrying out the instructions within your Texas last will and testament example to the probate judge. It follows its default procedures. If it doesn’t, you pass with estate intestacy.

Validity conditions vary by state, but some core requirements are universal:


At Least 18 and of Sound Mind:

The other need for creating a will is to be at least eighteen (18) years old and of sound mind. The purpose of this specification is to make sure a person is competent to decide how their assets are divided upon their death and that they do not get manipulated by someone trying to gain an advantage.


Put in Writing and Signed:

Before you pass away, you must sign your free last will and testament Texas or by someone authorized to sign on your behalf, such as a power of attorney. A handwritten will is valid in many states and is easily identifiable as such when it appears in your penmanship. Additionally, it needs to appear in the physical presence of two witnesses.


A Notary stamps it:

When someone notarizes a will right after signing and witnessing it, it becomes self-proving, unlike a notarized choice, which may not be valid. A missing notarial seal could prolong the probating process because it needs authentication.


How to Write Your Last Will and Testament in Texas?

Your last will and testament is the most important document you have. Your estate closing strategy will eventually rely on this legal document. This document will distinguish between a smooth estate settlement and caring for minor children.

You can draft a valid will by following the instructions below. When drafting a will, it makes sense that you consult an estate planning lawyer.

  1. Identify your distributable assets.
  2. Keep a record of the names and assets of your heirs.
  3. Make a spouse the personal representative of the estate.
  4. Use a sample last will as a guide.
  5. Make a copy of your final draft and sign it.
  6. Visit a notary public for signatures and find two witnesses.
  7. Make several hard copies of your will after scanning a digital document.

You should review your will and testament every two or three years and make any necessary changes. If you need to change something, restart the formalized signing process outlined in Step 6. If your will exists, make sure someone close to you knows about it, such as your spouse, adult-aged child, sibling, or parent.


Keep These Items Out Of Your Will At All Costs.

In addition, you should leave joint assets, bank accounts, or pet provisions out of your will. If you want to specify these details, draft a living trust and durable power of attorney (DPOA).


Keep These Items Out Of Your Will At All Costs.


You should never include the following items in your will:


Joint Tenancy Real Estate:

The other joint tenant automatically has a right of survivorship if the property belongs to both tenants. Whatever your will contains, your share of the property will go directly to the joint tenant after your death. Your will does not need to include provisions for joint tenancy real estate.


Beneficiary Life Insurance Policies:

Life insurance proceeds are automatically distributed to the beneficiary upon your death, as with joint tenancy real estate. Reinsurers separate pension, IRA, and 401(k) proceeds from probated estates.


Funeral Arrangements:

Funeral arrangements are usually the first item to be addressed following the death. Because of this, a probate hearing, which can occur several months later, doesn’t make sense to discuss funeral plans. An advance healthcare directive, on the other hand, can specify funeral arrangements.


Illegal Bequeathments:

Even though it may seem impossible, some people attempt to leave their heirs illicit assets, such as drugs, illegal game trophies, and illegally operated businesses. A probate judge may also impose unlawful conditions on the heir to receive their distributed shares. If this happens, a probate judge may invalidate the will and close the estate.


Special Needs Arrangements:

If you become incapacitated, you can make arrangements. However, there are better documents than a will to accomplish this. A special needs trust, for example, is specifically designed to manage the unique needs of a disabled individual. Adding a power of attorney or a medical power of attorney to increase decision-making capacity is also possible.


Pet Provisions:

In general, pets are incapable of acquiring property themselves. As such, pet owners often leave instructions for their care in their will. However, a will will not convey these instructions so that a living trust will be a better option.


Wills vs. Last Wills & Testaments

A last will is a will, and vice versa. The terms are interchangeable. While there are many types of wills, they all refer to as wills.


Texas last will Benefits

There are several benefits to establishing Texas last will and testament forms, but everyone must be aware of the negative aspects before proceeding.

  • When one makes a will, an executor handles the estate’s affairs and possessions until the estate’s assets pass to new owners after probate.
  • If the parents cannot raise their children until they are responsible adults, they can name a guardian in their will.
  • If a person cannot manage an inheritance independently, they can find a trust to help safeguard care for a child or loved one.
  • Tax repercussions can be reduced through will-based estate planning, protecting beneficiaries’ assets to a greater extent.
  • The document facilitates leaving a legacy by specifying charitable donations and ensuring the philanthropic wishes of the testator are carried out.
  • Testators can protect assets from being sold or misused by including provisions in their wills. For example, beneficiaries have the right to use their benefits for a certain period once they have reached the age of majority.
  • A testament allows the testator to specify how sentimental or personal belongings should be distributed, ensuring they go to loved ones.
  • Stepchildren and unmarried partners cannot inherit under a will, but the testator can provide for them in his will.
  • Such a document can smoothly transfer the ownership and management of a family business.
  • It will enable families to create trusts to support loved ones financially.
  • Using a will, a testator can specify how they wish to bury themselves and how they want their funeral arrangements handled.
  • It is possible to expedite the probate process by executing a well-drafted will, allowing beneficiaries to receive their inheritance faster.
  • By providing an executor with a roadmap, they can simplify the process of administering the estate and ensure that all the deceased’s affairs run smoothly and efficiently.
  • Upon their untimely passing, the testator can designate someone they trust to care for their children.
  • It is possible to leave a will to the testator’s partner if they have been in an unmarried partnership for a long time and want to ensure they receive financial support and assets.
  • When someone writes a will, they can say what should happen to their online accounts and social media after they die.
  • In a well-drafted will, the intention of the testator, as well as instructions for asset distribution, are clear.


What Is The Cost Of A Will?

The process of establishing and completing your Will could significantly impact the price.

You can join Attorney Real Estate Group for $159. Add your spouse for $100. Make unlimited updates with our Estate Plan for a year. You can store your Will for just $19 every year. Attorneys back no other affordable options; they come with best-in-class member support as cheap as this one. Attorney Real Estate Group plans to cater to your needs based on your state. This means you never have to worry about one-size-fits-all issues.

A lawyer is usually required to meet with you face-to-face at least a few times to review and implement your plan, which is the most expensive route.

You can also find a free Will and Trust Planning site that offers all these services online, for free, as your final option. There are several apparent concerns with the free path, but the most obvious is that there could be inconsistencies in the types of documents available, boilerplate forms, and fill-in-the-blank forms that may not be legal in your state.


What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?

If a person dies in the absence of having a valid will, we consider them to have been killed irretrievably. The state becomes the executor of their estate, deciding how to split property and prioritize payment without considering their family’s circumstances.

If the court decides a family member can inherit, it can create guardianship plans for the kids.

Generally, probate laws divide deceased relatives’ property among their surviving spouses and children. In Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Louisiana, or Wisconsin, the state’s community property laws will divide the estate of a person who dies without a valid will.

Community property laws consider both spouses as joint property owners. The distribution hierarchy starts with the surviving spouse, who almost always receives at least half of the deceased’s estate. They may receive the entire estate if no children or grandchildren are left.

If the decedent is unmarried or widowed at the time of death, any surviving children will receive assets from the estate before any other relatives. The estate’s assets will become the state’s property if there are no heirs.


FAQ About Last Will and Testament Texas


What are the prerequisites for a will to be legal within Texas?

In Texas, the must be executed by the testator (the person who made the will) before two witnesses who will not gain anything in the death of the testator.


What is the cost of drafting wills within Texas?

The cost of a final will and testament in Texas may differ. In certain instances, it could cost up to $2500. It could also be as low as $225, depending on the place where it’s signed and the number of drafts required.


Do Wills require notarization within Texas?

There is no notarization requirement in wills issued in Texas.


Does it make sense to make one’s own will within Texas?

Legally, you can draft yourself a will within Texas. But, it’s better to consult with an attorney the will before you sign it to ensure it’s in line with the state’s law. You can always refer to an example of the Texas last will and testament template to help you.


Can a person write in handwriting, which is acceptable to use in Texas?

A handwritten will is legally valid in Texas, provided that it satisfies all legal standards.


The Bottom Line

A last will and testament outlines an individual’s final wishes regarding their assets and specifies how to distribute them after death. The will cannot assist a family with avoiding probate or reducing estate taxes, for instance.

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