Just like every other state in the USA, Texas has its own laws and requirements when it comes to last will and testament documents. A last will can only be legal in Texas if the individual creating the will has legal and testamentary capacity and testamentary intent. This refers to a person’s legal ability to create a legitimate will. Additionally, the testator (the person creating the will) has to follow several legal formalities to ensure that the will can be deemed valid by probate courts.
For a long time, if you wanted to create a last will and testament in Texas, you had to hire a lawyer and pay several hundred dollars for the document. This made traditional wills expensive, complicated, and time-consuming to create. Fortunately, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Now, there are numerous online will makers that offer Texas will forms. Online wills in Texas cost significantly less than wills created by a lawyer, and they can be created from the comfort and safety of your residence. Each Texas will template provided by these websites is specifically tailored to the laws of the state to ensure its validity.
If you’re looking to create a will in Texas, read our detailed online will maker reviews to find the best service for you. Our top will makers offer a wide variety of estate planning documents, including last will and testament, living will, living trust, medical power of attorney, and other state-specific forms. You can opt to create a will in an online browser through eForms or LawDepot, or you can download Nolowill-making software to your computer. One of the biggest advantages of these services is that they put all the questions in simple English, making online wills a great option for every person regardless of their familiarity with legal jargon. These companies also have exclusive offers for clients coming from our website. For instance, you can use eForms for 7 days free of charge, or get 10% off your Nolo purchase.
Texas is the second-largest state in America by both size and population, with just under 30 million people permanently residing there. Just over 11% of the state’s residents are over 65 years of age.
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The state also ranks 3rd for the number of attorneys residing and working there. The average rate charged by lawyers in the state is $286 per hour, which is the 12th highest attorney billing rate among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, the average Texas household wealth is just $78,825, the 46th lowest in the US. Consequently, attorney services in Texas are very expensive for most residents of the state, especially elderly residents. As a result, using an affordable Texas last will and testament template online can be an excellent choice for many Texans.
Making a Will in Texas
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While Texas does not require its residents to have a last will and testament upon their death, a simple Texas will created according to the state’s regulations allows you to specify how you want your assets to be distributed after your death, appoint guardians for your children, and designate an executor for your estate. Each person over the age of 18 has the legal capacity to create a will in Texas. Additionally, people under the age of 18 who serve in the military or have been married can also make a valid will. To have the testamentary capacity to create a will in Texas, you need to be of sound mind and understand what it means to create a will, what the effects of making a will are, what assets you own, etc. Finally, to have the testamentary intent for writing a will in Texas, you need to legitimately intend to make a document that will specify how your assets should be distributed after your death.
Types of Wills in Texas
Holographic will – this is a will written entirely by hand by the testator. This type of will requires only the testator’s signature, meaning you don’t need witnesses or a notary to sign it.
Attested will – this is a will that’s partially or entirely typewritten. Typically, wills created using online will-making services or written by attorneys fall into this category. An attested will becomes valid only when it is signed by the testator, or by another person who is officially directed by the testator to sign the document, as well as two witnesses who are over the age of 14.
Texas residents also have the option of adding a self-proving affidavit to their will. The affidavit will act as a substitute for the witness testimony in probate court, saving time and money. This document needs to be signed by the testator, two witnesses, and a notary.
Living Will Forms in Texas
A living will or an advanced healthcare directive is a legal document that allows you to specify what medical treatments you want or don’t want to be performed on you, specifically in a situation where you’re no longer able to express your wishes. This document typically covers various resuscitation procedures, tube feeding, artificial ventilation, dialysis, organ donations, and palliative care. Without a living will, those difficult decisions will fall on your family, who may not know your specific wishes if you never wrote this information down. Additionally, you can use a living will to appoint a person to make decisions regarding your medical care if you are incapacitated. A Texas living will needs to be signed by a notary or two witnesses to become valid.
What happens if you die without a will in Texas?
When someone dies without making a will in Texas, their assets are distributed by the probate court according to a statutory formula. The exact distribution of the estate depends on whether the deceased person was married, had children, siblings, surviving parents, and other relatives.
How to revoke a will in Texas?
You can revoke a written Texas will by creating a new will, making a codicil, or a written declaration revoking the will. You can also revoke the document by destroying it or having someone destroy it in your presence.
What documents does a Texas estate planning package include?
While last will and testament is the primary Texas estate planning form, you should also consider making a living will, living trust, financial, and health powers of attorney as part of your estate planning package.
Is an out-of-state will valid in Texas?
Texas generally accepts out-of-state wills, however, it’s best to update your will after moving to Texas, as the state’s law has several unique provisions that may make it easier to probate your will if certain language is included in the document.
Are video wills legal in Texas?
No, Texas does not recognize video wills or any type of digital wills as legally valid.
Concluding words about how to write a will in Texas
A last will and testament is a legal document that allows you to specify who will inherit your assets after your death, appoint guardians for your minor children, and designate an executor of your will. In Texas, you can create a will if you’re at least 18 years old and are of sound mind. Military personnel under 18 and underage individuals who have been married can also make wills. Handwritten (also known as holographic) wills only need to be signed by the testator to be valid, while attested wills also need the signatures of two witnesses. Texas wills have no beneficiary restrictions in terms of who is allowed to be a beneficiary, but at least one person or organization has to be listed in the will for the document to be valid.