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Texas Last Will and Testament

Texas Last Will and Testament

By 

Jennifer Mcgee

·

Updated on  

January 3, 2023
·

9 mins

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Making a Texas last will and testament may seem like a complicated task just for people with large estates. However, we all have some property and assets that would be distributed among our families once we pass away. With a last will, you can decide who gets what. You can choose what treatment plans you'd prefer if you become incapacitated or who would be your kid's guardian. All these things would significantly affect your family's life after you pass away.

Planning what would happen to your estate would make the entire process easier for your loved ones. You should make an online last will now and begin your estate planning process.

Requirements for a Texas Last Will and Testament 

Every state in the USA has varying conditions for a valid and legal will. To avoid the will from being challenged, you should follow the details for your state. Let's look at the requirements for a Texas last will and testament:

  • Must be in written form: A written California last will is legal in court. You need to write the will or type it on a computer and print it. Either way, it should be available in a physical form. 
  • The testator should be 18 years or above.
  • Must be of sound mind and memory: The testator should fully understand the process and what a will is. They need to have a sound mind and memory during the will-making. 
  • Freely and voluntarily: The testator should make their last will voluntarily without any influence from a beneficiary. 
  • Signed by the testator: The testator must sign their last will in the presence of two witnesses
  • Signed by two witnesses: A Texas last will and testament would be legal if two witnesses sign it. They must sign it in front of the testator, and the testator needs to do the same.
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“Should have done this before, had made it up to be really hard in my head. This was super easy!”

Holographic wills in Texas 

Texas also allows Holographic or handwritten wills. It means you can write your own will in your handwriting in Texas and sign it.

Who can be your witnesses for a Texas Last Will and Testament?

You will need at least two disinterested witnesses for your Texas last will who follow these conditions:

  1. The witnesses need to be at least 14 years of age for a Texas last will and testament.
  2. The two witnesses should be disinterested, i.e., they can not be beneficiaries in the will. 

Texas rules for a personal representative or executor 

Your personal representative in the last will is the person responsible for managing your estate after you pass away or become incapacitated. You can choose an executor in your Texas last will and testament only if they fulfill these conditions:

  1. They must be 18 years or above of age.
  2. The executor should have a sound mind, allowing them to perform the duties.
  3. Never been convicted of a felony.
  4. Must be deemed suitable by the court

In a Texas last will, you may choose someone who lives out of state as your executor. However, they can only serve as your personal representative if they appoint a resident agent in the state who can collect legal documents on their behalf. 

Texas Last Will and Testament

Texas Last Will and Testament notarization 

It's not necessary to notarize your Texas last will. However, attaching a self-proving affidavit is better to make the probate process quicker. 

You can complete this by signing an affidavit by you and your witnesses declaring that it's your last will in front of a notary. 

Last Will Revocation in Texas 

You can revoke your previous last will before you pass away in Texas by following any of these steps:

  • You can destroy your previous will by tearing, burning, or throwing it away.
  • Ask someone else to destroy the will in your presence.
  • You can revoke your previous will by creating a new one. Ensure that you state in your new will that it revokes all the last wills. Get rid of your previous wills and codicils to avoid any problems. 

Texas Last Will Amendment rules

You can revise your existing Texas last will and testament with a Codicil. It's a legal document that enables you to alter your will rather than revoking it altogether. The Codicil must also follow the same guidelines for signing by the testator and two disinterested witnesses. The testator should be of sound mind while creating the Codicil. 

What happens if you don't have a will in Texas?

If you don't have a last will, these applicable cases could happen in Texas:

Case

What happens 

Married without children, parents, or siblings 

The spouse inherits the estate 

Have children (blood or adopted), but not married 

Children inherit the estate 

Married with children (Children you share with your spouse)

Spouse inherits the entire community property and one-third of your personal estate. The children inherit two-thirds of your personal estate. 

Married with children (Children with someone other than your spouse)

The Spouse gets half of the community property and one-third of your personal property. Your children inherit the rest of the estate. 

Not married, no children, no parents, no siblings 

Your extended family inherits, including grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins 

No family 

State of Texas inherits the estate 

Texas Community Property rules.

Texas is a community property state. Here's what you should know:

  • A community property state assumes all the assets or debt acquired by either spouse during their marriage to belong to both of them
  • To explain this, if you buy a property during your marriage, your spouse would own half of it even if you've bought it with your income and have just your name on the title.
  • You can only list beneficiaries for your half of the entire estate. Even if you choose someone else in your last will, it'll go to your spouse if it's their half of the estate. 

Here's what you can name in your will:

  1. Your personal property includes any assets or debts you had before your marriage 
  2. The inheritance you acquired during your marriage.
  3. Any assets specified in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  4. Your half of the entire estate 

You can use your last will to leave these assets to any beneficiaries you wish. 

Last Will and Testament Texas Free Template

You can quickly create a simple estate plan by downloading a Last Will and Testament Texas free template. It will be the best option if you don't have a large estate or complicated finances. You could check out the template and follow the necessary requirements to make your new Texas last will and testament. Once you go through the details and follow the required steps:

  1. Connect on TrulyWill and create your account.
  2. Discuss any issues or complications about your finances and personal relationships with our attorneys.
  3. Sign or notarize the document, depending on your state requirements. 

This template and sample last will and testament would allow you to examine what your will would look like. You can change the will template depending on your personal preferences for estate distribution. 

Some instances where it would be prudent to consult our experts before finalizing your will would be when you have a high net worth or complicated family and personal relationships. We also provide additional services for those unique requests:

  • Online expert support: You can connect with our experts online and clear your doubts.
  • Attorney support: For some specific and unique requirements, we also offer additional attorney support services for your will and trust.

If you're facing any of these issues, it's essential to consult an expert before proceeding. They could personally help you out with any doubts and create a solid and legally enforceable Texas last will and testament. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What would happen to my estate if I had no immediate family?

If you create a will before you pass away, your estate will go to the beneficiaries you've mentioned. However, if you die without a will, it could go to your extended family or even the state if there are no relatives.

Can I write down my wishes and consider them a legal will?

Several states do not allow a self-written will unless you've followed the requirements. It would always be better to create a legal will by following all your state rules.

What does a personal representative/executor do?

The executor of your will would be responsible for managing and settling your estate distribution after you pass away. It's always better to name a trusted adult as your personal representative.

How should I store my will?

You should always store your last will and testament in a safe place, one which is accessible to your loved ones and doesn't pose any risk to the documents. It can be a safe locker or a safe in your home.

Can I leave or donate my estate to an organization or charity?

You can leave all your assets to a charity organization. The court would follow your wishes and provide the organization with everything. However, consult an attorney to avoid any problems.
Jennifer Mcgee
Parent to five young children. Expert in Estate Planning, Probate, and Family Law Matters. Volunteer with Victim’s Advocates in the local sheriff's department...
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