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A well-written Last Will and Testament will dictate how and to whom your estate and assets will be distributed after you pass away.
In the state of Texas, a will must meet specific requirements to be valid. For example, the person making the Will (the testator) must have testamentary capacity and testamentary intent as well as to follow legal formalities depending on what type of Will you have made.
The Parra Law Firm knows the importance of protecting those you love from getting into an unnecessary legal dispute when you pass away. Schedule a consultation today to help you navigate all the legal requirements to ensure your will is followed as you instructed.
The Texas Last Will and Testament is a legal estate-planning document that reflects the final directives of a testator (person to whom the will belongs). There is no specific time at which a will must be drafted. In Texas, any adult may draft a will at any time. However, there are some requirements to make your Will valid before Texas law. Wills may be changed or revoked at any time by the testator, as long as the testator is of sound mind to do so.Testamentary Capacity
Testamentary capacity is the legal term used to describe a person’s legal and mental ability to write or make changes to a valid Will. This is a very important concept that will assure your assets don’t end up being divided among relatives in an unfair way that does not reflect what you wanted for themselves.
The test for capacity to execute a valid will is based on case law. A testator must:
- Understand the nature of making a will and its effects.
- Understand the extent of the property of which they are disposing.
- Be able to comprehend and appreciate the claims to which they ought to give effect.
- Have no disorder of the mind that perverts their sense of right or prevents the exercise of their natural faculties in disposing of their property by will.
Testamentary intent is the testator’s intention to create a revocable disposition of property that will take effect upon his death. The testator’s intentions must be clear and evident in the document. A document instructing attorneys or executors on how something should work at some other future is not considered as a testamentary intentLegal Formalities to Take Into Account When Writing a Will in Texas
As well as having legal capacity and testamentary intent, some formalities need to be followed in order for these documents to take effect. Texas recognizes two types of written Wills. One is called a “holographic Will” and the other type is referred to as an “attested Will.”
- A holographic Will is a handwritten Will. To be valid, you must write the Will completely in your own handwriting and sign it. There is no requirement that witnesses or a notary sign the document.
- An attested Will is a Will that is not completely in the handwriting of the testator. This is commonly a typewritten Will, like one an attorney would prepare for you. To be valid, you must sign the Will, or direct another person to sign it in your presence, and at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14 must sign it in your presence.