What is a Will?

Many people postpone writing a will. Maybe it’s because we don’t want such a tangible reminder of our mortality. Or perhaps we view the process as relinquishing the ownership of our property. Whatever the excuse may be for putting off the drafting of a will, many people do not realize that writing one actually prevents what is feared. In fact, a will may be the most important document that you ever write, because it allows you to select the persons who will receive what you own when you die. If you don’t have one in place, you cannot select the recipients of your property and the state you reside in will determine how your property is divided.

In simple terms, a will is a legal document that dictates how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. It’s a fluid document because it has no effect until you are gone — you can change it whenever you want. To be valid, however, the document must comply with several requirements under state law— the number of witnesses, whether it must be typed or handwritten, and others— all of which are fairly standard state to state and very easy to satisfy.

Source: What Is a Will & Why Do You Need One? Research and Insights | Wilmington Trust. (2018, October 4). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://library.wilmingtontrust.com/wealth-planning/the-importance-of-a-will.

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How Do Wills Work in Texas?

Here are the requirements for a valid will in Texas:

  • Your will must be “in writing,” meaning it exists in a physical form. For example, a will “in writing” can be one you’ve written by hand, or one you’ve typed on a computer and printed. A digital copy, like a PDF of your will saved on your computer, isn’t considered valid.
  • You must be at least 18 years old. This rule doesn’t apply if you’re married or serve in the military.
  • You must be of sound mind and memory. This means that you:
    • Understand what it means to make a will
    • Understand the nature and extent of your property and relationships
    • Are capable of making reasonable judgments about the matters your will controls (for example, naming a guardian for your minor children)
  • You must make your will freely and voluntarily. This means you shouldn’t be under improper pressure to write your will by someone who has power over you, like a caretaker or family member. This is known as “undue influence.”
  • You must sign your will in the presence of at least two credible witnesses, who also sign. According to the Texas Estates Code, your witnesses must be at least 14 years old. A witness is “credible” when they don’t receive any financial benefit under your will. In other words, your witnesses should be people who aren’t receiving anything from your will.
  • In Texas, you don’t need to notarize your will to make it valid. However, a notary is required if you want to make your will self-provingTo make your will self-proving, you must include a self-proving affidavit. In it, you and your witnesses state that your will was signed by you in the witnesses’ presence, and that you’ve declared it to be your will. Your self-proving affidavit must be signed (or acknowledged) by both you and your witnesses in front of a notary, who will then notarize the affidavit.
  • Holographic wills, also called handwritten wills, are accepted in Texas. To be valid, a holographic will must be written entirely in your handwriting and signed by you.

Source: Write your legal will online, Free & Simple. FreeWill. (2021, May 7). Retrieved October 14, 2021, from https://www.freewill.com/learn/texas-last-will-and-testament.

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Create A Will Today

Nationwide – in partnership with FreeWill – now offers an online will planning tool for our clients to use. FreeWill lets you make your last will and testament quick, easy, and completely free. It is a simple online legal will maker that helps you compile will forms to print and sign, or to take as a basic will template to an estate planning lawyer. FreeWill is built alongside will making experts.

Click the button below to create a customized will that’s 100% free and 100% legal, with no lawyer required.

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