Preparing your last will and testament can be a tricky thing to do. The law in the State of Texas states that any person over the age of majority (18 in the State of Texas) and of ‘sound mind’ (legally sane, as opposed to legal insanity) can draft his or her own will with or without the aid of a lawyer; in fact, a person in Texas may draft and entirely handwritten will, known as a holographic will, and it is valid if wholly in their own handwriting and signed. This is not the best option but can be the solution in a pinch. It must be entirely in the persons own handwriting and should be signed and dated.
However, the legal ramifications through which property is actually owned by an individual, and can thereby be distributed through a will, can be extremely convoluted and confusing. Hiring an attorney to go through the drafting process of your will and testament with you will ensure that your family and loved ones are provided for and taken care of upon the time of your death and the devolution of your property is properly administered.
Most people use a will to leave instructions on what should happen to their property and personal effects after they die. You can also use a will to state many other important legal decisions such as naming guardian(s) for children and their property, providing for pets, deciding how debts should be paid, naming an executor, and to serve as a back up to a living trust. The will can create a trust for young kids or adults with disabilities and allow you to establish who will control those funds. The will needs to be drafted in a way to be long lasting and take in to account the things life may throw in your way.
Surprisingly, wills have very few legal requirements. To make a will within the State of Texas you must know what property you have and what leaving it to someone after your death entails (legally known as capacity, or sound mind); creating a document that names who to leave at least some of your property to; you must sign the document; and you must have the document signed by two witnesses except in the case of a holographic will. A holographic will requires witnesses to prove that it is actually your handwriting.
If you are pronounced deceased without a will in the State of Texas, your assets and property will go to your closest relatives under “intestate succession.” This generally leads to assets being assigned to children, spouses, parents and/or siblings. Someone will have to determine who your heirs are at the time of your death.
This can be a costly process and your property may not go to the person you would like it to go to. This is why it is extremely important to draft a will and always keep it updated!
If you are looking to draft or update your will and estate planning procedures, contact the Foster Law Firm in Sugar Land today. The Foster Law Firm is a family owned and operated legal consultation firm that can help address many legal needs, including estate planning and will drafting. For more information regarding your will, call today and schedule a consultation.