Information about your Will in Texas
Contrary to popular belief, a Will does not have to be a complicated matter. In general, a Will is a written document designed to leave your assets to whoever you choose. Some of the most important issues put into a Will are as follows:
- Who should be the Executor? Who should be an alternate Executor?
- Should I leave specific items to certain people?
- Should I leave any gifts to charity?
- If I have children under 18, who should be their Guardian?
- If I have children under 18, who should be their trustee in charge of financial matters?
What does a Will look like?
There is no specific preferred legal form for a Will. Yes, many lawyers have legal treatises which have forms. However, Texas law only requires that a Will should be in writing and signed by the testator, attested by two or more credible witnesses over the age of 14 who subscribe their names to the document in the presence of the testator. (Texas Probate Code Section 59) A Will does not need to be a complicated matter for the majority of Texans. Some people with very large estates do need some specialized legal services. However, for the majority of Texans, a simple Will, which is drafted to address each individual's wishes, is effective and reliable for any and all Texas Courts. At Hudson & O'Leary, we believe in making the process simple and the document understandable.
The disadvantage of not having a valid Will in Texas.
If you die without a Will, your property will be disposed of according to state law. This may leave results that were unintended and can add cost and delay to settling an estate. In general, the Court system will need to determine the identity of your legal heirs. It is simply a more involved and time consuming process. The distribution will be determined by how close someone is related, not the quality of the relationship. Click here to see how Texas law distributes your property without a Will. This chart is provided by the Travis County Probate Court.
In addition to the basic Will, most Texans should consider a few other simple estate planning documents. Click here to get information on a Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, and a Living Will -known as a "Directive to Family" in Texas.
If you need a Will, call us for an appointment. We will be happy to speak with you by phone to quote fees. Call us today at 512.441.9941.