The Law Office of Ana M. Pace provides comprehensive assistance with Will preparation and estate planning. Our expertise allows us to guide you through the intricate process of creating a will with empathy and precision, ensuring your legacy is preserved and your loved ones are protected.
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that spells out how your assets will be distributed after your death. When you die without a Will, your assets will only go to your heirs at law according to state law, but a Will allows you to leave assets to friends, charities and even for somebody you’ve chosen to care for your pets. A Will also allows you to nominate an executor to manage the distribution of your estate and a guardian for your minor children.
Requirements for a Valid Will in Texas
In Texas, a Will must meet certain requirements in order to be valid:
- Legal Capacity: You must be 18 or older, have children, or a member of the armed forces;
- Testamentary Capacity: You must be of sound mind; and
- Testamentary Intent: You had the intent at the time you signed the Will to set out how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death.
In addition to these requirements, there are formalities that must be adhered to for the Will to be considered valid. A typewritten Will must be signed by you, or signed by somebody else under your direction, in front of at least two witnesses over the age of fourteen.
Texas doesn’t require Wills to be notarized, but the best Will attorneys in Texas recommend adding a self-proving affidavit for to avoid having to use witnesses during a probate hearing. A self-proving affidavit is simply a sworn statement that you and your witnesses sign in front of a notary public. A completely handwritten “holographic” Will be also be considered valid in Texas without any witness or notary requirement it must be made in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the testator. A testator is the person making the Will.
Do I Need to Hire an Will Attorney?
Texas law doesn’t require that you hire an attorney to help you draft and execute your Will, but the small cost is well worth it for the peace of mind it provides. If your Will does not meet all the legal requirements, it can be declared invalid by a Texas probate court and your estate will be divided according to state law regardless of what your well known wishes are. If this happens, your assets will be distributed based on Texas laws of intestacy, which may not be what you wanted.
It’s especially important to carefully draft and execute a Will that is likely to be contested because you’ve cut out natural heirs or given less that would be expected to a close relative such as a child, parent or sibling. Estates with large amounts of assets that give money to charity, non-relative friends and for the care of pets are almost certain to be contested by disappointed relatives. You have the right to choose how to distribute your assets and when you hire an experienced Richardson Will attorney you can be confident that your wishes will be carried out as you planned after your death.